‘Free NHS WiFi offers a multitude of benefits for patients. It enables them to access patient online services and GPs can demonstrate apps that they find useful and signpost them to accurate information.’
Crystal Peaks Medical Centre sits in a busy retail park in Sheffield. The practice is a training practice with 5 GP partners and a large multi disciplinary primary care team. There are approximately 7,000 patients registered with the practice, from a range of socio-economic backgrounds.
The practice, along with other practices in the neighbourhood, is applying for digital inclusion funding to encourage digitally excluded patients to take charge of their health and wellbeing and make use of patient online services.
NHS WiFi was installed at the Crystal Peaks Medical Centre on 10 July 2018.
Dr Gillgrass, who has been a partner at Crystal Peaks for 5 years, was previously paying for mobile WiFi at the medical centre and has been keen to get free WiFi connected for some time.
As a GP trainer, Dr Gillgrass points out that GP registrars are also benefiting from free NHS WiFi.
‘We are seeing great benefits with GP registrars. Previously it’s been difficult to access their portfolios and resources for exam preparation. We’ve used mobile data to do that in the past but now we’re able to signpost them to good learning opportunities.’
The practice is working towards a neighbourhood model, integrating with other practices in the area who also have GP registrars. Now they have the facility to do remote tutorials without having to use a desktop PC in a consultation room, as they can use mobile devices to deliver the sessions.
It’s not just Dr Gillgrass who is enthusiastic about the prospect of free NHS WiFi. Practice staff will encourage patients to sign-up for patient online services while in the waiting room, and staff will be able to use mobile devices to demonstrate to patients how to book appointments online and order repeat prescriptions.
Having access to free WiFi can also reduce anxiety for patients before their appointment. Being able to make good use of their time by accessing emails, checking social media or even downloading an ebook to calm their nerves can improve the patient experience.