Today I want to talk about a problem for us and for GP partners. We’ve always supported the GP partnership model as the most effective (while not the only) way to deliver high quality primary care, locally and with long term relational continuity.
Forgive me if you’re not a GP partner, no need to read on, but if you are I hope we can share some of your thinking as we are a small business with a turnover similar to a medium sized partnership. We value our independence and we want to help you use yours.
Throughout England GPs are able to access one of several suppliers free which enable them to comply with the edict to offer online and video consultations. We chose not to participate in this tender, as the allocation is random by CCG, no evidence of outcomes was required to participate and therefore it is impossible for GP partners to make an informed choice of supplier.
Not only are we competing with free, bluntly our service is around three times the price of others over 3 years. It’s a job to explain to people that it’s very different from bolt-on technology, as askmyGP enables system change like no other. We are not competing with point solutions.
This means that in addition to helping you comply with regulations, we need to sell on the concepts of “value for money” and “return on investment”. It has to be worth it for GPs making decisions as owners, those with skin in the game (I loved the wonderfully provocative book of that title by NN Taleb).
In the whole UK just four CCGs and one Welsh health board are fully funding askmyGP for all their practices, and they are flying, but let us face facts: the rest of you are going to have to pay directly. Which puts you in exactly the same position as thousands of other businesses, including ours, where investment is a decision you make to save time and money, improve your life and increase profits.
Now here is the good news: our customers are our greatest fans, and we are very grateful to them for their public support. Some recently set up a facebook group (I’ve applied to join). They are all over Twitter – last week @simondevial wrote “We’ve been using it for 8 weeks. In 28 years no other change delivered “what it says on the tin” like this.”
I was talking to Barry Sullman on Friday. He’s happier than ever after 2 years. “Using askmyGP has given my practice extra resilience, allowing us to easily cope with clinical staff shortages due to Covid, and sustain a high level of care dealing with every clinical patient the same day” He goes on to add “Last year was our best QOF year because of askmyGP. We were able to identify long term condition patients at the triage state and bring them in for care of their long term condition as well as the problem being triaged. As a result last year I reached virtually all my QOF targets before New Year’s Day!”
We hear lots like this. As a result we’re seeing the highest ever rate of enquiries from GPs, many of them unhappy with the free software imposed by their CCG with no consultation and no evidence.
However, many get stuck at the point where they need to pay, and when they are used to having everything for free, it seems odd. Yet the same people wouldn’t think twice about buying a holiday (a cost) or replacing the car (a wasting asset).
Last week my bank wrote to tell me the interest on my savings account is 0.01%. Compared with keeping £1000 under the mattress for a whole year, that’s just 10p extra, and they are threatening to charge us for looking after it soon.
I’m happy to report that increasingly partnerships are realising the very high rates of return they will make with askmyGP and deciding to invest, based on evidence, putting themselves in control of their destiny. Our practices managed 98,050 requests last week, 96% of them remotely, 69% of them received from patients online.
It’s not only the savings on locums (you will have noticed that locums are struggling to find work at present), so many echo @catiebagel’s tweet “Hope we can continue to deliver remote assessment and treatment where possible & if clinically appropriate. Often more convenient for patients and less travel has co-benefits for the environment. Agree, am so glad we had @askmygp in place before COVID hit. #greenergp”
You may have enquired with us a day, a week or a year ago. If you’re not convinced of the evidence, crawl all over our website, study our live data, ask your friends who are customers and look for independent views. If you don’t understand it yet, spend an hour on the webinar “How, but first Why, askmyGP works”.
If you’ve seen and heard enough, and you don’t want to waste a year on something free but with tiny usage and no savings, then now is the time to act for three simple reasons:
- the barriers to change have disappeared
- current workload is lower than ever
- money has never been cheaper
So many practices have got this far and then decided to hang on for taxpayer funding. They are still hanging on, six months, a year, two years later. Don’t be another disappointed hanger-on, be another delighted user, within a week. We’ve now launched close to 3% of UK practices – that’s enough to start a revolution.