Efficiency and ease for Luton phlebotomy visits

4th July 2022

With thousands of blood tests to be taken each year, Civica Scheduling makes it easier for clinicians and patients.

Sarah Munroe, Service Manager – Blood Services and Heart Failure Team, Luton Children and Adults Community Health Service, (part of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust) describes how Civica Scheduling (formerly Malinko) has helped to improve the service.

Each year our phlebotomy service takes thousands of blood tests. We have clinics five days a week, at times with two couches running, and we also carry out domiciliary visits. In total, our team consists of 20 including clinicians and admin.

Phlebotomy used to sit in a more remote setting, however following integration with Luton Blood Services, we have been better able to meet the needs of the housebound patients by separating out the phlebotomy service, allowing other community services more time for specific care that they need to deliver.

Before Civica Scheduling was implemented in January 2020, patient demand was easily visible in our electronic patient record (EPR) system, SystmOne, but the process of allocating community visits was very manual and prone to error. Each phlebotomist had a ledger for an area with the number of visits they’d complete. If a change was required, for example if someone was off sick, it could take between five and 30 minutes to change everything around.

How Civica Scheduling helped

Civica Scheduling not only automates the scheduling of home visits for our staff but it’s easy to see immediately what is needed for community patients who are often frail and elderly. Patients may need to be fasting while waiting for a procedure, so everything is scheduled in the order that it needs to be done.

The implementation of Civica Scheduling was led by the clinicians who suggested it, so they knew how to make it work for them. It’s really helped with organisation and management of caseloads and most importantly is making the service better for patients.

Originally, we started using Civica Scheduling in both clinics and homes but soon realised that demographic info isn’t needed for people coming in for bloods. Patients who attend clinic are generally in better health and don’t have the complex care requirements of those at home. So, we now just use it in community – and it works.

The training and support we’ve received from Roisin and the Civica Scheduling team, in addition to our own training programme, has been important. Admin is crucial to our team’s success, so we have focussed in this area, training four admin and two healthcare assistants who may need to step in to cover holidays or other staff absences.

The introduction of ‘time to lab’ and lunchtimes means staff have protected time in their schedule. Caseloads are streamlined, staff feel reassured with the lone-working safety features, and visits are coordinated efficiently and effectively. Our clinicians don’t just like Civica Scheduling, they LOVE it!

Key outcomes

Community visits are scheduled efficiently and effectively

Appointment changes are easily and quickly handled

Community patient needs are easy to see