www.sxt.org.uk is the only provider-run database of sexual and reproductive healthcare. We have used our own on-the-job experience to create a platform which meets the needs of the people who work in this area of healthcare, tackles some of the day to day frustrations they face, and is easy for them to use and incorporate into their management practices. Here's how we've done it ..
Four years ago, we launched SXT as a simple SMS service; however, the lack of flexibility with text messages, especially when compared to smartphones, pushed us into developing a web service, which then became mobile friendly for clients in August 2013. In February 2015, we turned www.sxt.org.uk into a mobile friendly website for providers too.
The information technology hurdle
The problem of out-of-date internet browsers on computers across the NHS has been one of the biggest barriers to providers joining and using www.sxt.org.uk effectively. Those who signed up to and used the site early had to use their computer at home to do so because their work software did't function properly. In 2012 we used a Google chrome patch to try and make the site work on Internet Explorer 6 but few members of staff would download it because they thought that they would need administrator rights. Internet Explorer 7 is better and so are early versions of Firefox but still www.sxt.org.uk does not look its best on these older browsers.
Going mobile means that staff can use the computers that they carry around in their pocket to bypass the limitations of their computers at work. The first step for all providers is to see if their service has already been uploaded to www.sxt.org.uk from NHS Choices or other databases. The minute-long video below shows the simple steps to check our database. If you are already on the website then please claim your service so that you can edit your hours of operation, services and profile. If you are not, then you will see the simple steps to register and join.
Registering in www.sxt.org.uk
The Time Barrier
If you work in a busy service it might, at first, be difficult to see the benefit of taking the time to join www.sxt.org.uk. After all, services already have a plethora of requests from commissioners, NHS bodies and other organisations (GMFA, THT, NAT and others) asking for a paper or electronic copy of the hours of operation, services, the types of clients being seen ... so why on earth should you join another information service? But www.sxt.org.uk is not just another information service asking for the same, it is the chance to stop all the duplication and sharing of partial information about provision described above.
www.sxt.org.uk has been designed for providers to simply and accurately capture the details of their service. Once they have been added, your details are visible not just to clients, but to all the other organisations requesting it. Upload the data just once, so that it can be used many times, without you wasting time repeating the task. It's simple to update your details, and this information can be shared either as a print out or via the SXT application programming interface that enables the database to share service information in real-time.
It takes less than a minute to register with SXT, another minute to apply to add a provider or outreach venue (see first video below) and less than 20 minutes to add details for a complex service and go live (see second video below).
Entering provider details on www.sxt.org.uk
Going live on www.sxt.org.uk
Keeping up to date
The mobile version of www.sxt.org.uk is now a super quick way to keep up to date. Once you log in to www.sxt.org.uk on your mobile phone you can add the web page to your home screen. Your mobile phone will remember the login details and consequently you will be able to see your service(s) with a touch of one icon. As you can see from the video above it is as simple as checking a box to add a service, change hours of service or close for a day.
Some providers may have concerns that marketing services on www.sxt.org.uk will attract more clients, when they are already having difficulty seeing the patients who currently attend. Many services see patients with a diverse set of needs and a sizable fraction could be seen at another time or by another provider.
Equitable access is the aspiration of all providers; however, there are some patients who need to take priority because they require time sensitive services (such as emergency contraception or PEP), they are under 16 years of age or they have painful symptoms (e.g. the first episode of anogenital herpes). As a health care system we need to ensure that we match capacity with demand to meet the needs described above. The best way to do this is to ensure that patients know which local services can meet their needs. It is a system failure when patients who want a simple test wait hours and bottle neck around a service, making it difficult for a patient who needs a priority service to be seen.
www.sxt.org.uk has been designed for all providers of sexual & reproductive health services. It does not matter if the service is online, a 100 hour pharmacy, a once a week outreach clinic or a seven day a week university hospital provider, www.sxt.org.uk meets needs across the network of provision. It is only by communicating all services effectively to patients that we can distribute the work appropriately and optimize access to services. If you agree, and want to support our work, please visit www.sxt.org.uk and join.