A Manchester health centre has won the Management in Practice Information and Technology Award, sponsored by iQ Medical, for setting up a new website and integrated intranet that has informed and empowered its patients.
The website portal of Haughton Thornley Medical Centres – comprising two surgeries, Haughton Vale Surgery and Thornley House Medical Centre – not only provides general information on services to its patients, but also features expert blogs (on issues such as self-care and health promotion), feedback opportunities for patients and links to the latest healthcare news stories.
The website, set up in 2008, was judged to have far exceeded the standard of most practice sites, to the extent that it had given patients a much greater involvement with their practice, succeeding in the practice's aim for its patients to be "active partners" contributing to the practice with their ideas so that its services could continually be improved.
This patient involvement was apparent at the MiP Awards ceremony in Birmingham on 6 October, where Margaret Rickford, an 81-year-old patient at the surgery (pictured, right with, from left, awards chair Wendy Garcarz, Glen Griffiths of interactivHealth and Haughton Thornley GP Dr Amir Hannan) spoke of the "excellent service" of the patient website, which she uses regularly to book appointments and access information.
Recognising that a "plethora of websites offered health information but not under one roof", the practice decided to provide "trusted" information to its patients from one location, a web portal hosted by interactivHealth plc, with password access to staff for inhouse information.
The website receives more than 2,000 visits per month, and between 6,000-7,000 page views per month. It contains information from several sources, including content written by patients and staff, as well as local, PCT, regional, national and international content appropriate for the needs of the patient population.
Announcing the winners of the IM&T Award, Fiona Lawson, Director of primary care IT experts Insight Solutions, said: "It was very heartening to see the standard of the entrants. Haughton Thornley Medical Centres really has embraced technology for the benefit of patients, the practice and the health of the community as a whole.
"They've worked together with all the parties involved in the project to ensure it was ultimately successful, and they continue to go back and review its success."