14 September 2018

Patients who miss GP appointments cost the NHS £1bn in 2017.

But, do you know what the impact of a missed call is from a patient? Apart from making your receptionist’s workload a little heavier by trying to return the call, regular missed calls impact patient experience, which, in turn, can affect the level of access your GP surgery has. However, on a more serious note, it could be the difference between life and death in some cases.

Therefore, the danger of an outdated GP phone system is far too great to ignore. So, it’s important that calls are routed efficiently both internally and externally, to ensure your patients are connected to either the most appropriate available member of staff or to either multi-site or out-of-hours services.

A GP phone system needs to be feature-rich in order to ensure that all of their patients’ calls are prioritised and answered. This will reduce the risk of either further frustrating a patient or worse, losing one.

So, what is the best GP phone system?

A hosted phone system will enable you to provide the following features which will help improve your GP surgery workflow:

  • Auto attendent

    Greets the caller, for example with a message saying that their call will be answered and ensures they are not left listening to a ring tone. It helps cut down the amount of time patients spend waiting in queues, as patient’s enquiries for opening hours and other information can be answered.

  • Call queuing

    Allows patients’ calls to be queued at network level before they are delivered to a handset at the practice. Comfort messages can be played too, which will give patients reassurance that their call will be answered soon and provide information such as opening hours.

  • Receptionist console

    Helps reduce the time it takes for a call to come in and be transferred to the necessary department or individual. The ability to re-order the queue is important, as some calls may need to be dealt with quicker than others in case of emergency. ‘Presence’ allows the receptionist to check who is available before transferring the call.

  • Sophisticated statistical analysis

    Analysing inbound/outbound calls can help identify the busiest periods to help plan of staff scheduling.

  • Integrator for EMIS

    Our hosted phone systems can also be integrated with EMIS and can provide end-users with benefits such as caller preview, click to dial and automatic popping of the EMIS contact page.

In addition, hosted telephony can also save you money in the long-term due to reduced call charges. However, it is important to note that this particular phone system operates over the internet and therefore a good internet connection is vital for these phones to successfully and reliably work.

Furthermore, by making the switch from your traditional phone line to hosted, you’re also future-proofing your GP surgery in the process. BT announced that they will be cutting off all ISDN lines by 2025, and the longer you leave to make the switch, the more expensive it will be. For more information on this, click here.

It’s also worth considering sorting out your disaster recovery plan, to ensure that any failed number can move over to another number – either to a mobile or another practice – and can be dealt with in a timely manner.

By introducing a hosted phone system which can provide your practice with these benefits, you can ensure that any patient phone call is dealt with reliably and efficiently, minimising the risk to your patients’ health.

If you would like to learn more about Square One Network can help with your GP phone system, please give us a call on +44 (0)1173 700 200.