Our client is one of the largest practices in Warwickshire, with 10 partners supporting approximately 12,000 patients. They offer general practice services which includes various clinics for diabetics, asthmatics etc.
TIC visited them to discuss their communication requirements. They had an old Telrad System and simply felt that the system was no longer meeting the practice’s needs due to increased levels of inbound telephone calls contacting the surgery.
- They needed a solution to help their reception staff deal with the volume of calls ringing in, particularly first thing in the morning when the lines came over from out of hours answering, as patients were simply hearing the ring tone and felt the surgery wasn’t answering calls quickly enough.
- As they are a multi-discipline practice they had no way of differentiating during this peak time between callers enquiries, i.e. appointments, test results, insurance enquiries etc., and this was leading to staff frustration.
- The Doctors were triaging patients over the phone and had no way of recording the consultancy. Additionally, they were conscious that when they recruited more staff they would like to improve the way they trained their phone technique.
- The management team needed to be able to produce accurate information referencing peak times for inbound phone calls to allow them to put a case to the partners for additional staff to be available to help receptionists. However, they had no way to do this with the current system.
- Due to the multiple waiting rooms in the practice, the partners wanted to improve the way that patients were called into the consultancy as the current process of informing the receptionists to then call in the patient was time consuming.
The Technical Solution
- Mitel System Configured With 12 x ISDN Channels, 8 Port Automated Attendant, 100 Hour Voicemail System, Call Queuing Software, 40 x Digital Handsets, Real Time And Historical Reporting Software, Voice Recording Software and a Multiple Input Tannoy System.
- The new system immediately helped the reception staff by greeting callers with an automated response, offering call routing options dependent on the time of day. This prevented patients ringing in at peak appointment booking times requesting non-essential services.
- The system also proactively informs the patient their position in the queue and monitors the average call processing time. This empowers patients who are able to decide whether they want to hold on or ring back later.
- With the integrated voice recording system, all calls by doctors and staff are recorded and they have found it invaluable with dealing with both complaint resolution and training. Recently, a conversation transcript was requested by a patient to verify a complaint and the recording was emailed to the client and the issue solved without the needs for the PM to arbitrate on behalf of both parties, taking up valuable time.
- Key performance indicators are now easily available for the practice and patient group on how well the practice is doing with call handling. The reports highlighted that at certain times of the day additional staff were needed to deal with the peak of inbound calls. This has now been acted upon and the problem addressed.
- The practice went one step further and decided to make information such as how many calls are answered today, how many waiting etc., highly visible in the waiting rooms on Plasma screens to show patients what a challenge their staff face.
- A multiple zone tannoy system was installed, which allows the doctors to call in patients from any of the waiting rooms. Music and surgery messages are played in the background as well. This has saved time compared with the traditional method of patient call.