Urgent Care, Productivity

07 Mar 2024

Doubling productivity and protecting safety: Insights from the webinar


Why does productivity matter? How do I improve? And how can I protect my team?

Our recent webinar, “Urgent Care: Productivity and Skill Mix for Peak Performance,” was a great discussion answering some of the biggest questions in urgent care today. 

Our panellists sat down to talk through their experiences:

The panel was moderated by Dr Priyen Shah, a paediatrics registrar and Lantum’s AI subject matter expert. 

Keep reading for highlights from the webinar that translate to opportunities for your own service, or re-watch the whole webinar here


How do you define productivity in urgent care?

A quick poll at the beginning of the webinar showed that most attendees had productivity targets for GPs and other staff types, and about a third of the attendees didn’t have anything — yet. 

But at Ummanu, they have seen big benefits from setting targets and measuring productivity. After beginning to track activity, they found that 40% of clinician time was being spent on admin. By automating processes, they were able to increase from 1.5 - 3 cases per hour to 2.5 - 5 cases per hour, almost doubling productivity. 

Rich said: “There’s something very powerful and important, I think, about setting realistic targets looking at the mean, but also those folks at either end of the spectrum as well." It’s not just the speedy performers – it’s also the skill mix, whether they’re a trainee or an ANP waiting on a GP’s opinion. 

Tim echoed the idea that targets should vary based on service and case type. “The number of cases we would expect a clinician to see per hour for home visits in the out-of-hours service would be a lot lower than the number of face-to-face clinicians, for instance,” he said.


But how does productivity work with different skill mixes?

Tim emphasised the need to monitor live results and flag service, roles or case types that impact productivity. “We try and look at it in the round,” said Tim, referring to the need for context in reporting. 

It’s also important to make sure the right skill mix is matched to the right case, a task that automation can help with. Rich pointed out that a constant flow of patients not only helps things move smoothly but also helps improve the patient experience. 

Even the best models, though, can’t always predict when it’s going to get busy. “Although you can see patterns, you can’t get away from an element of unpredictability about how busy you are at different times,” said Tim. Working to minimise redundancy is only useful if it helps keep a safe service running. 


How do we balance productivity with patient safety?

“[Productivity] mustn’t be the top priority — because if it is, then safety and quality aren’t the top priorities,” said Tim. But productivity and safety don’t have to be in conflict. “If we manage to keep waiting times down to speak with a clinician, that’s a mechanism by which we can guarantee and improve safety, rather than setting them in opposition with one another.”

“Productivity isn’t working longer, harder and faster,” said Richard. “It’s cutting out the waste, not squeezing harder.” 

Automating work that takes too much time and reducing missed connections, especially in online consultations, helps clinicians stay productive and happy at work. “People go into medicine to make an impact,” said Rich, and productivity is just one way we can help them make a bigger impact.”


Why is everyone talking about productivity right now?

It’s a hot topic in the world of urgent care, but it’s more important than ever to get productivity right. Services are busier than ever, and urgent care providers need to keep up. 

When Tim first started working in urgent care six years ago, it was reasonable to expect about 3% growth in demand every year. And for a while, it worked. But between 2022 and 2023, the growth in SELDOC’s largest service was a staggering 51%. “It’s a different world,” said Tim, “and we have to approach service delivery differently.” 

“We’ve got seven million odd people on the waiting list in secondary care, and we’ve got primary care delivering many millions more appointments per year than we ever have,” said Rich. “There is a sense that every part of the system is delivering harder and still not able to keep pace.”

This doesn’t mean that everyone works beyond capacity, but the opposite. Clinician time is one of our most precious resources, and we need to think about the tools we use for productivity, obvious and otherwise. 


How do we protect clinician wellbeing while boosting productivity?

“From our perspective, there doesn’t have to be a conflict between reasonable productivity and team wellbeing,” said Tim. “But part of that assumes that you’re going to have an achievable productivity target and a healthy work environment for the clinical and non-clinical team.”

Both Tim and Rich agreed that getting buy-in from your team was the most important part of building a solid organisational culture all staff members felt like they had a stake in. 

“Talk to the team, and understand if there are factors not in the reporting that are influencing productivity,” said Tim. Building a sense of mutual respect helps improve the organisational culture, flexes the system and introduces humanity to a demanding job.

Shorter shift time could also help clinicians avoid burnout, as a GP on a four-hour shift is naturally going to be sharper than one at the end of a 12-hour shift. 

Plus, standardising productivity targets could help improve morale among clinicians and set level expectations from shift managers.


What are the first three steps urgent care leaders should take to improve productivity in their organisations?

  1. Zoom out and understand what your current performance is, and if you’re trying to fix the right thing. What factors are impacting productivity?
  2. Understand that productivity doesn’t happen in isolation — it needs to be seen in the context of your organisation, urgent care as a whole, and the entire healthcare system.
  3. Engage your workforce and promote an organisational culture that treats people like human beings, the whole time. 

Watch the full recording

Want to dive deep into all the insights? Register here to access the webinar on demand.


About Lantum

Lantum is designed to make urgent care workforce management easier. With centralised rota tools, it’s a better way of making sure staff are where they’re needed most. 

Automated admin tools help streamline time-consuming processes, ensuring that staff aren’t wasting valuable time on endless paperwork. Plus, unlock features like next-day payments for clinicians to help build a positive team environment. 

Lantum’s Managed Service also takes the hassle of shift fulfilment and rota management off your team’s plate, with a dedicated delivery manager on your side to support staffing and boost productivity. 

Learn more about Lantum for urgent care.



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About Lantum

Lantum is a workforce platform that uses technology to simplify all aspects of healthcare staffing.

Our easy-to-use tools empower healthcare organisations to fill their shifts and professionals to fill their diaries, without the need for agencies. And they dramatically reduce time spent on rostering admin, compliance, and invoice chasing.


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