Sunderland Clinical Support Information

“From the outset, it was clear that the team behind Agilio TeamNet understood the challenges facing us and, most importantly, our goals were aligned – to make healthcare systems stronger and more efficient so that more time and resource can be spent on patient care. We are incredibly proud of the Sunderland CSI and the work we have achieved with the team at Agilio.”

Sunderland Clinical Support Information – a Collaboration between the Sunderland GP Alliance and Agilio Primary Care

Formed in 2015, the Sunderland GP Alliance is an organisation owned by the GP Practices of Sunderland, allowing all GP practices to collaborate and work collectively to deliver a consistent quality of care to all patients across the city. It helps GPs respond to the changing needs of the health system, and the alliance helps primary care in any way it can – from extended access services, vaccination hubs, to standardised pathways of care.

Sunderland GP Alliance was the first of its kind, and throughout its seven years of providing scaled up, integrated services, has been able to save primary care providers time and money, as well as improving the patient experience.

A Need for Consistent Patient Pathways

Like many GPs, working at an individual practice level often results in different approaches and pathways to patient care. Practices manually managing updates to pathways and referral processes can lead to a substantial workload burden through inefficient referrals, lack of quality of information, and variability across practices and services.

David Gunion, Sunderland GP Alliance Project Manager: “We found, across our practices, each GP would have a drawer of patient pathways, all different, potentially out of date – which was detrimental to our approach for consistent quality of care across Sunderland.”

Therefore, a centralised pathway system for primary care across Sunderland was needed. Primary Care in Sunderland recognised that a standardised, electronic system that all GPs could access, would streamline processes, and make things more efficient for both practices and patients.

Using Experts in Healthcare Technology

 In January 2020, the Sunderland GP Alliance (SGPA) was tasked to implement and develop a new centralised pathway tool for primary care across Sunderland. the team approached Agilio Primary Care which was already in place and supporting Sunderland practices with their back-office functions and serving as a single-source for knowledge management.

Agilio TeamNet is a web-based sharing, compliance, and workforce management platform that supports GP practices, Integrated Care Systems, and Primary Care Networks through a range of software services. These services include access to libraries of clinical knowledge, guidance, policies and procedures, as well as capabilities for information sharing and collaboration across practices and organisations.

Sunderland GP Alliance and Agilio Primary Care worked together to develop a localised version of TeamNet’s clinical libraries feature so all GP practices could have access to local clinical information, service details, referral information, patient leaflets, and local contacts.

The Sunderland Clinical Support Information system was created.

Working Together to Create a Solution to Save Time, Money, and Ensures Consistent Quality of Care

For over 20 years, Agilio Primary Care has developed its products and technology through clinical expertise and user feedback. Every product, module, update, and service is designed and developed to help GPs and GP practices save time and money. By paying close attention to suggestions and ideas from those who use the system day to day, the platform has evolved and adapted to work for the ever-changing landscape of primary care and is now used by over 67% of GP practices across England.   

With its outstanding customer service, existing presence in GP practices across Sunderland, and its reputation to listen and adapt its technology, the Agilio Primary Care team and its TeamNet software was the natural choice for Sunderland GP Alliance to work with, to help solve the problem of inconsistent pathways and referral processes.

David Gunion: “We wanted cost efficiency, control and flexibility to develop a system that would work for us. Suzanne, Rob and the team at Agilio Primary Care were great at listening to us and talking through how we could tap into the potential of TeamNet.”

Developing a Tool That Will Work for the Sunderland Health System

When approached by Sunderland GP Alliance, Suzanne and the team at Agilio realised that the Sunderland CCG had the TeamNet platform, not just for CSI, but for many other things.

Suzanne Straughan, TeamNet Product Implementation Consultant at Agilio Primary Care: “Tapping into the potential of TeamNet for this challenge meant that there was not only a tool for compliance, CQC, and HR for all the practices, but also a clinical information sharing platform in the background that could be adapted for Sunderland GP Alliance.”

The Agilio team worked closely with Sunderland GP Alliance’s Clinical Reference Group (CRG) who consist of local GPs and other health system colleagues. The CRG reviewed existing pathways, developed new local priority pathways and referral content, and ultimately are responsible for all content in the Sunderland Clinical Support Information (CSI).

Agilio Primary Care and the Sunderland CRG focused on enhancing the existing systems in TeamNet to explore various aspects including ease of use, accessibility of content, links, announcements, and topic pages – and by engaging with users, TeamNet was able to refine the look and feel of the pathways so the system worked for those who would be using it.

The result of this collaboration is Sunderland CSI– a decision support tool that provides easy-to-access, approved standardised patient pathways, clinical guidance, service, contacts, and referral information for all clinicians and practice staffs across Sunderland.

The Results and Wider Use

Sunderland CSI was launched in August 2020 with 50 pathways transferred into the system and has grown to have 250 pathways and lozenges.

Sunderland CSI is fully operational across all of Sunderland practices with over 3,000 users accessing standardised pathways. This is minimising inappropriate referrals, enhancing service user experiences, reducing clinical risk, and improving overall practice efficiency.

Mark Beadling, Digital Lead Sunderland GP Alliance said: “Because Sunderland CSI is integrated with TeamNet, our users were immediately trusting of the content, it is written by Sunderland GPs for Sunderland GPs.

Sunderland CSI has now expanded to other parts of Primary Care – with administrative pathways and information being shared on the platform as well.

The Sunderland GP Alliance and Agilio Primary Care have also begun to roll out similar frameworks to other parts of the country – including South Lancashire adopting similar CSI platforms for localised information sharing.

David Gunion: “From the outset, it was clear that the team behind Agilio TeamNet understood the challenges facing us and, most importantly, our goals were aligned – to make healthcare systems stronger and more efficient so that more time and resource can be spent on patient care. We are incredibly proud of the Sunderland CSI and the work we have achieved with the team at Agilio.”