The challenge

In May 2020, NHS England announced an expanded seasonal flu programme as a measure to ensure the protection of vulnerable people and support the resilience of the health and care system during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In previous years, Woking-based Heathcot Medical Practice would have run Saturday morning flu clinics and operated extended hours to deliver flu vaccinations to their population of eligible patients.

But with nearly double the number of vaccinations to complete as well as the need for social distancing, and the extra time required to sanitise surfaces between patients, they knew that those arrangements wouldn’t be enough this year – they needed to find another solution.


Led by Clinical Pharmacist Ian Dunn, the practice decided on a centralised approach, running drive-through clinics to administer mass vaccinations one full day each week for six weeks, as well as walk-through flu clinics on Saturday mornings. But they needed to find a more efficient way of updating the patient records for each vaccination.

The practice’s planned process for updating patient records involved printing a form for every single patient, and using stickers to record the batch code and location of the vaccine on each form.

All of the forms would then need to be manually scanned, filed and coded by the practice’s administration team – an incredibly manual and time intensive job for a team already working at capacity.

The solution

Through the NHS Primary Care Improvement network, Kat Robbings, Clinical Support Coordinator at the practice, came across Substrakt Health’s Vaccination and Immunisation app.

Developed specifically for mass vaccination programmes, it enables practices to complete the administration ‘there and then’ at appointments in under 30 seconds.

The app is ideal for use during a pandemic, ensuring vaccinations are carried out quickly and efficiently whilst minimising contact between clinicians and patients.

How it works

  • In advance of vaccination clinics, the practice uses Substrakt Health’s Target Messaging software to send a hyperlink out to patients via SMS.
  • On arrival, the patient clicks on the link to display a QR code, which is scanned by the vaccinator using a tablet or smartphone device. This retrieves the patient data.
  • After administering the vaccine, the clinician simply selects the batch number from a drop-down menu and selects where the vaccine was administered before saving the information directly to the patient record.

Set up is simple and completed remotely by Substrakt Health. The team connect to the practice clinical system to enable the app to update the patient record.

Links are sent to devices to enable the download of the app onto devices. All patient data is completely safe and the app complies with all security standards set by NHS Digital.

“It’s all really simple. No training is needed as the app is so intuitive. The team at Substrakt Health were always there to provide support, and were in touch throughout the day of the first drive-through clinic to check how we were getting on”

Kat Robbings, Clinical Support Co-ordinator, Healthcot Medical Practice


Heathcot medical practice is using the app at both their drive-through and walk- through flu clinics, and are planning to use the technology for the 2021 flu season and for the upcoming COVID-19 vaccinations.

Key benefits

  • No administration burden for practice teams, saving 615 hours – the equivalent of one full time member of staff working for four months printing, scanning, coding and filing forms on patient records
  • Reduced time and contact spent with patients, minimising the risk of spread of COVID-19
  • Drive-through flu vaccination appointments taking 60 seconds on average
  • Walk-through flu vaccination appointment time reduced by three minutes
  • Time saving per appointment enables practice to see many more patients
  • 90% of patients arriving with code
  • Quick and easy process to retrieve patient details without code
  • Ability to update patient records off-site
  • Speed of walk-through appointments means less patients sit down, and therefore less preparation time is needed for sanitising surfaces
  • Ability to operate on minimal staff as immunisers can handle check-in as part of the process
  • 5* reviews from patients on and via the practice website

“The app has been invaluable to us this flu season – we don’t know how we could have handled it with our paper system.

The number of man hours we have saved is huge. To process all patient vaccination forms would have taken us months, and would have been an added pressure on an already stretched team. The app has enabled us to complete the work instantly, and the data is visible on patient records shortly after the appointment.

Our CCG has been so impressed with how well the app works, they have asked us to spread the word to other areas. We’ve also had numerous emails from patients saying how impressed they were with how quick and easy it was.

It’s been particularly beneficial for vulnerable patients, who are encouraged that they can be in and out of the practice much quicker or drive through and remain in their car.

It’s great to know that we have used this software and we have a plan for the future mass vaccinations.”

Kat Robbings, Clinical Support Co-ordinator, Heathcot Medical Practice, Woking.

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