Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust’s severe asthma clinic saving four hours a week with the GM Care Record

Lynn Elsey is Consultant Respiratory Pharmacist at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Lead Pharmacist for the North West Severe Asthma Network. Nationally, she is a member of the British Thoracic Society Respiratory Pharmacist SAG, a co-lead for the Centre for Sustainable Health Respiratory Sustainability Group, a member of the NICE asthma guideline committee and sits on the treatment working group of the taskforce for lung health.

Asthma affects around 200,000 people across Greater Manchester with most keeping their symptoms under control with the use of inhalers. People with uncontrolled asthma are referred to a severe asthma service who assess patients to see if they require high-cost biologic injections or other treatments to control their symptoms.

The respiratory team at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust reviews 6 -10 new patients with uncontrolled asthma every week and the team need to see each patient’s medical history to review if their asthma is uncontrolled due to non-adherence to asthma treatments such as inhalers or if they are truly a severe asthma patient who remains uncontrolled, exacerbating and requiring oral steroids, despite adherence to optimal inhaled therapy.  This is vital to assess the need to escalate them to biologic therapy and is a requirement of the NICE guidelines.

Accessing vital information in less than 5 minutes

Lynn says, “Before we see patients, we need to understand if they have been managing their asthma appropriately with inhalers. Before we had the GM Care Record, we would spend at least 30 minutes per new patient calling and emailing GPs and community pharmacies to understand the clinical history. With the GM Care Record, we can access vital information in less than 5 minutes. The team can quickly check medications, repeat prescriptions, last issue, and care history which helps decide on an appropriate course of treatment.”

Lynn continues, “In particular, access to prescription data is a game-changer. It’s not just a snapshot, you can see the full history across the whole of Greater Manchester, which gives us the true picture of care. Extra information such as inflammation markers on GP bloods also helps support our clinical decisions.

Optimising patient treatment and clinician time

“We already knew that around 25% of referred patients are not adhering to their inhaler treatment so we need to refer them back to the GP or whoever referred them from secondary care. Treatments such as injections are expensive, but more importantly, we don’t want to provide severe asthma treatments to people who don’t need them.

“With 3-4 hours of phone calls and emails saved each week, our capacity is improved and we’re able to see more patients and provide better quality care. The GM Care Record has helped us optimise treatment and optimise our time. We now have documented evidence to support our clinical decisions and can educate doctors on what to look for in the GM Care Record to avoid unnecessary referrals, saving clinical time and providing a better patient experience.”

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