The Hedge End Medical Centre have been our customers for over 5 years. Dr Karl Graham, Hedge End’s Lead Partner for IT explains why they needed to upgrade their business’ telephone systems, “There’s been an increasing use of telephone consultations, which has been one of the big things that’s changed over the past few years. It wouldn’t be unusual for me to speak to a dozen or more patients by phone during the day. The most useful thing that we have is the headset, as it means that when I’m talking to patients I can have my hands free to write notes”
Dr Graham also explained how they use Wallboards, “We wouldn’t be able to run the urgent care service without the capability of moving different staff on and off the phones, so I think that’s a vital part of our phone system. The wallboard system displays the information to allow you to know what to do with your staff, so those go hand in hand. Practice Nurse, Sister Sue Cledwyn continued, “It allows people who are on reception to say that they need more people on the phones or actually maybe they’re not so busy on a day so somebody can come off the phones and go and help elsewhere. If we see that the queue is building up then myself and our reception manager can each pick up an extra phone and dial into those lines and help out with volume of calls so that people aren’t kept waiting. We could live without out, but it wouldn’t be so effective as we can see when we have calls waiting, we can see when we are really busy, so it definitely helps.
Jennie Dock, Practice Manager at Hedge End, explained their setup and how they use on-hold marketing, “We’ve got two main lines that come into the surgery, we call them appointments and inquiries. Patients dial a different number for each but essentially get through to same people, but we then know what the call will be regarding. We have 14,000 patients, and probably 4,000 of those are eligible for a flu-shot. The cost of writing to all those patients would be enormous, and most of them in the “at-risk” groups are aware they need a flu jab, so the on hold message is a good gentle reminder for them. So they might be ringing in for something else, but then hear this message and think to themselves “I’ll make an appointment for that as well while I’m on.”
Jennie continues, “The thing I love most about the system is that it records all the calls, both incoming and outgoing. You can download the calls straight onto your desktop which then obviously allows you to e-mail it to any person you need to, and that’s also straightforward because on the call recording software there’s a save button which you can just save straight to your desktop. To give an example; there was a dispute over the urgency at which an appointment was requested so the tape was really important because we were able to discuss what was actually said in detail, be very factual and handle a person who feels that their request is not being dealt with appropriately. We also use Call Recording for staff training as we give our staff a number of scripts to use and that helps them manage patient demand and requests. It’s useful to play those back and make sure the scripts work and whether they need improvement or not and how well they were understood.