NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB

Hybrid mail Public sector case study

Docmail, saving valuable time and money while supporting the NHS Long Term Plan, across 110 surgeries and a combined 1 million patient cohort.

The Medicines Management team are tasked with informing patients of important changes to their medication.

Case Study NHS Derby and Derbiyshire
Icon Healthcare B
110 medical practices
Icon Time Saving
Savings in time
Icon Revenue
Cost savings
Icon Community B
1 million combined patients
Icon Customer Services
High patient uptake
Icon A4 Letter
50,000 letters
Icon Our Promise
Supporting NHS Long Term plan
Icon Diversity
Reduced calls to practice

The brief

The NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB (Integrated Care Board) supports over 110 primary care practices, responsible for improving the health and well-being for a patient population of over 1 million.

One team within the ICB is the Medicines Management team. Their role includes working with the practices on communication campaigns, to inform patients of any medication changes, to ensure patient safety and improve patient outcomes.

Historically, to send these communications, the team physically visited each practice to produce letters on their behalf, where they would print, fold and stuff each envelope and then post it. Most practices had franking machines but occasionally the team would also have to buy stamps.

Not only was this time-consuming, but the process needed to be adapted due to Covid-19 remote working requirements and to support NHS Long Term Plan to drive efficiencies.

In 2021, a campaign was required to inform thousands of patients across multiple primary care practices about a change to a new more environmentally friendly inhaler, which would reduce carbon emissions by half.

The communication needed to inform the patients why the change was happening, the benefits and further anticipated changes to their inhaler medication.

It was important for the information to be communicated by letter to maximise engagement and therefore health outcomes. It needed to provide a trusted source of reference for the patient and evidence to show carers or relatives involved with the patient’s care.

With these complex requirements, the team needed a solution from a supplier who understood the health sector and the challenges they faced.

nhs derby and derbyshire

The solution

The ICB underwent a procurement process and Docmail were successful, offering a solution that catered to their requirements.

Docmail is a secure, easy to use, self-managed hybrid mail solution that allows users to send printed communication directly to the end patient directly from their desktop. It provides a flexible, online alternative to sending patient communications and can be done from any location.

Docmail has an extension called the print driver, which can be downloaded to a PC and acts as a virtual printer. Users can send over pre-merged letters to the print driver, allowing them to print letters directly from their desktop or clinical system.

Docmail print driver integrates safely and securely with the EMIS and SystemOne clinical systems enabling patient data to be updated with records of the letters being sent, which is vital for auditing purposes.

The process

The team were assigned a dedicated Business Development Manager at CFH, who ensured that onboarding with Docmail was a quick and easy process.

CFH offered team group training sessions, taking The NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB members through how to use the Docmail print driver and best utilise Docmail. The training provided the opportunity for any questions to be answered which the team found extremely helpful.

The inhaler mailing, which consisted of a patient information leaflet and a letter explaining the change, was split as the team did separate mailings on behalf of each practice. The team simply sent their letters over to the Docmail print driver and uploaded the leaflet and completed the order process. Additional support was provided by Docmail’s friendly customer support team, who were on hand to answer any questions.

The results

Docmail has proven to be more cost-effective than producing a letter in-house, as the cost for a single-sided letter is less than a second-class stamp; and that’s not even including the fact that Docmail includes the price of the envelope, paper and ink too. Docmail is the perfect solution to support the NHS long-term plan to drive efficiencies, with savings reinvested in frontline care.

The inhaler mailing resulted in an increased patient uptake, with NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB having the largest number of patients switching inhalers compared to other ICBs across the UK. The increased uptake reduced the number of calls back into each surgery, relieving pressure and stress on front office staff.

Docmail has offered huge time savings for the team. With Docmail, they can send 1,000 letters in minutes, meaning team members are now freed up to work on other important tasks.

Docmail has allowed the team to work remotely. During the pandemic, they could continue sending out essential communications to patients, without delay. The reduced travel between practices has the added benefit of contributing to NHS’s carbon emissions target.

Since adopting hybrid mail as their communication platform, they have sent over 50,000 communications.

Throughout our 3-year relationship with Docmail, we have continually found the customer support team helpful and able to resolve our queries. Additionally, the training has been invaluable and the continued support essential in maintaining our strong relationship.

We have since recommended Docmail to the practices we support, advising the use of the efficient print and post solution to enable teams to work remotely.

With the relationship between CFH and NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB going strong, we plan to use Docmail going forwards to help achieve our targets of informing patients of vital medication changes, while also saving money for the NHS each year.

Helen Gregory, Lead Medicines Optimisation Technician ,
NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB

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