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Silky Oaks Medical Practice was among the first of Healthengine’s customers to implement our Scripts product, instantly allowing existing patients to request their repeat prescriptions online 24/7 and freeing up the frontdesk and practitioners’ time for other tasks. Today, they’re fulfilling an average of 56 repeat prescriptions via Healthengine every month, and we checked in to see just how smoothly Healthengine Scripts was running for Silky Oaks’ staff and patients.

“Because of the efficiency it creates for our team, the convenience it offers our patients and the freedom it gives us to set our own fees for online Scripts, it certainly is a value-add feature… At an average of 56 scripts per month, that’s 56 fewer calls to reception… And instead of two support staff required to handle script requests, the process can now be done by one support staff member in a fraction of the time.”

Matthew MercerPractice Director - Silky Oaks Medical Practice

Silky Oak’s Stats snapshot

  • Online scripts – 56 patient scripts fulfilled per month*
  • Time savings – Up to 9 hours of admin time saved per month*
  • Patient engagement – 597 patient requests**
  • Script approval rate – 89%**
  • Script delivery – Usually within 24 hours
  • Revenue – $19,500+ per annum from online scripts^
  • Reviews – 98% would recommend this practice – from 348 patient reviews**
  • What they love about Scripts – The time it saves our staff and ease of use for staff and patients
  • * Monthly average Jan-June 2022
    ** From stats over 12 months (19 June 21 – 19 June 22 )
    ^ Forecast based on five-month revenue Jan-May 2022

Providing care to patients in the Wynnum Manly area of Brisbane for almost four decades, Silky Oaks has been a proudly family owned and run medical practice since Dr. Paul Mercer purchased it from Silky Oaks Children’s Haven in 1987.

In that time the practice has trained over 70 GP registrars, grown from a team of four GPs to 14 GPs, 10 receptionists and seven nurses and allied health professionals, and provided career opportunities for the next generation of Mercers too.

Dr. Paul Mercer’s son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Sara, now head up the team as Practice Directors with a strong focus on improving practice efficiency and patient experience with Healthengine’s Practice Efficiency Suite, now included in GP Complete, and scripts.

“I grew up in the practice and stepped into the role of Practice Director in 2017,’’ says Matthew.

“Up until that point, Silky Oaks had been a very traditional practice with many manual processes. We’d already been using Best Practice as our management software for a few years, but there were no other systems or software products around it. And one of the first changes we made was to get on board with Healthengine.”

Why Healthengine?

Like so many Healthengine practices, Silky Oaks first came on board because they wanted to offer their patients online bookings and needed a platform that integrated seamlessly with their existing practice management software.

“We looked at their major competitors and found Healthengine offered easier implementation and a better deal all round. The way that their business model works means we get more for our investment,” says Matthew.

And five years on, what they’ve come to value most is the ease of use, as full-time registered nurse and Silky Oaks’ biggest user of Healthengine, Natasha Maguire, explains.

“I do a lot of the recalls, reminders and scripts, and logging in to Healthengine is usually the first thing on my to-do list every morning. I hadn’t used it before I joined Silky Oaks in 2019 and it was really easy to learn.”

“We also have a lot of older patients who aren’t very tech-savvy at all, and they’re able to use the online booking and script system really easily,” says Natasha.

An urgent need to scrap the paper and save time.

Since 1987, Silky Oaks had previously been processing scripts through the same cumbersome process. When a script request came in over the phone or in person, the receptionists noted down the patient’s details on a slip of paper to be handed to the nurses or doctors to check whether the script could be written or a booking would need to be made for the patient.

“It was so laborious and time consuming for the whole team, not just reception. We had some doctors who were very heavily booked, so we needed a solution that would create more available bookings for their patients,” says Matthew.

“So when Healthengine launched the online Scripts product, it offered the perfect opportunity to scrap those slips of paper and make the whole process flow with minimal effort.

“We’ve got all of these good opportunities to adopt technology that helps improve healthcare, and Healthengine Scripts just makes sense. It was an easy change for us to implement here at Silky Oaks. It’s safe and it saves everyone so much time.”

Improving frontdesk efficiency and the bottom line.

With Healthengine Scripts, requests are now sent directly to the doctors electronically, with all the patient details prefilled so they can easily scan the info and click to approve or decline.

“Every morning, I log in to see if the doctors have done any script requests,” says Natasha. “At an average of 56 scripts per month, that’s 56 fewer calls to reception. These calls can take up to 10 minutes to make sure we’ve captured all the correct details, identified the patient and the name of the medication and clarified exactly what it is that they need, so that saves us hours of admin every month.”

If the script is declined, a message can be quickly sent to the patient to clearly indicate the patient needs to book an appointment, and the medication cannot be prescribed unless seen. And tech-savvy doctors can even choose to do it all themselves while they’re logged in to approve any requests.

“Instead of two support staff required to handle script requests, the process can now be done by one support staff member in a fraction of the time. And so far this year, revenue from online scripts has totalled $8,177, so we’re on track to generate a total annual revenue of over $19,500,” adds Matthew.^

^ Forecast based on five-month revenue Jan-May 2022

More convenience for returning patients.

Rather than having to call during practice hours and possibly be on hold for five minutes, Silky Oaks’ patients can submit their script requests via Healthengine Scripts anytime and usually receive them in 24 hours (normally the same day), which again saves them time and the inconvenience of having to wait for a call-back or an appointment with their doctor.

Silky Oaks’ most regular users and biggest advocates of online scripts are those patients requiring medications for serious conditions such as heart problems, diabetes or mental health issues, or other medications that also require regular on-going daily doses such as contraception.

“It’s just so much quicker, easier and less hassle for these patients to maintain a regular supply of their essential medications when they can put in their request online anytime of the day or night,” says Natasha.

“We also get patients come to the frontdesk and say, ‘I had an appointment with my doctor and I forgot to ask about my script.’ So I just suggest they go online to request a repeat script. I get the doctor to review the request, and if approved they get the script straight away.”

Making the switch to eScripts with one click.

Because Healthengine seamlessly integrates with Silky Oak’s practice management software (Best Practice), patients were immediately able to request an electronic script delivered via email or SMS by adding a note in the comments, which meant they no longer needed to come into the practice to collect their script. And since the introduction of Healthengine’s eScript Support in 2022, the process has been streamlined even further with requests now tagged as eScripts with just one click.

“Many of our patients select eScripts when they make a request online because it’s so much more convenient for them to have it on their phone to send direct to their pharmacy, rather than having it on a slip of paper that has to be scanned to be sent electronically, or can easily be misplaced,” says Natasha.

“We have one doctor who uses eScripts about 90% of the time. Even when the patient is in the room with him, he’ll do an eScript because he has found it’s so much more convenient for patients,” Matthew adds.

An extra note on improving efficiency.

Silky Oaks actively encourages their patients to use Healthengine to request scripts online. In addition to adding a ‘Script Repeats’ button front and centre on their website home page, they include reminders in their on-hold messages, Facebook posts and newsletters to their patients letting them know about online scripts. Frontdesk staff also always advise patients that using Healthengine for scripts is not only quicker but also cheaper, as they charge a higher fee for taking script requests over the phone.

More time-saving and revenue-making opportunities.

We asked Matthew and Natasha to share some insights and tips to help other practices get more out of this feature, offered as part of Healthengine’s Practice Efficiency Suite, now GP Complete.

“Be strategic about the doctors you add to the Scripts feature. Start with doctors who are regularly booked out one or two weeks in advance to help reduce their workload and free-up more appointments for their patients.

“Also, be really thoughtful about the online screening questions you choose to ask patients. The obvious one is making sure all patients are repeat patients who’ve had a face-to-face or telehealth appointment with their doctor in the last six months.”

“And, perhaps most importantly, remember that you get to set your own payment fee and the delivery timeframe for online scripts. Neither the fee or delivery time are pre-set by Heathengine, so you have full control of your revenue and your workload management.”

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