08 June 2010
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Q. We are looking at different options of conveying basic practice information to patients without having to produce/update practice leaflets regularly. Any suggestions?

A. A practice website is the ideal way to share information with patients, as it allows them to log on whenever they want information.

Notice-boards in the waiting room are also useful. The electronic notice-board is also becoming a feature in some practices. The information loop could contain a series of slides lasting 10 minutes in total, changed monthly.

The practice telephone is another system underutilised. It should be possible to record messages to be accessed automatically. You can relay standard information, such as surgery times, and other messages which patients will hear/opt for when they call the practice. It is an idea to phone your practice both in and out-of-hours to assess the messages - check if the messages are too fast or unclear, especially when giving telephone numbers. Also check if the tone is appropriate.

All of the above will supplement and reinforce the information you provide to patients. The more ways you communicate a message the greater the chances it will be understood and remembered.