The key objective of Active Signposting (AS) is to help patients access the right care at the earliest opportunity. It is a new system of ‘triage‘, carried out at the first point of contact with the GP Practice by non-clinical staff under direction of the clinical team.
There are numerous drivers for this patient-centred approach and outcomes will include a more streamlined GP workload, improving efficiencies in terms of access to services and patient satisfaction. It will achieve this by releasing valuable GP time and resources. Staff will actively manage requests for GP appointments and safely redirect inappropriate GP consultations to the most appropriate care provider.
Active Signposting is a tool to develop the skills and career paths of non- clinical staff. Staff will move away from a passive role and have a more direct impact on patient health outcomes. The skills and abilities needed to undertake Active Signposting are valuable in other new non-traditional roles such as Document Management, HCA and Care Navigation.
After training staff will be confident in advising and referring patients to care providers who work either within the practice team or to external care providers.
There are two models of Active Signposting which we will explore:
- Higher level of clinical triage
- Lower level of clinical triage.
Depending on which model you have the resources to deploy, there must be a larger or smaller number of agreed protocols and algorithms available for staff to follow.
Active Signposting can present a challenging cultural shift for some teams – and we will explore the mechanisms to help make the changes as smooth as possible – some of this will build on the existing understanding, within the practice, of the need to change and a realisation of benefits these changes can have.
Successful and safe Active Signposting is reliant on 3 core principles:
1) Robust agreed protocols.
2) A full commitment from the whole team to support staff in delivering Active Signposting.
3) Continuing audit of activity and outcomes including complaints and significant or serious incidents.