What to look for in your GP telephony supplier
As GPs come together in hubs and federations, many surgeries are realising that their telephone systems need to better support the changing needs of general practice. Here are some useful tips to look for when choosing a GP telephony provider.
You should work with the supplier that best meets your requirements. This means:
- You need to have confidence in your supplier. This means that they should have extensive understanding of your challenges, and can offer solutions that can meet your precise needs.
- You need to be able to trust your supplier. This means responding to your requests, having transparent pricing, keeping to robust service level agreements, and providing flexible training and ongoing support.
- You need to know that your supplier can grow to meet your needs. This means they should have the infrastructure in place to cope with current and emerging requirements, and are developing additional features that make sense.
Support for your practice needs
Your telephony system should have the features you need to run an efficient business and clinical practice. Features should include:
- Integration with clinical systems, so when a patient calls from a registered number, the patient record is immediately available to authorised reception staff. The call recording should then be accessible from that record.
- Call recordings, accessible from the patient record, and for use by clinicians and managers for treatment or training purposes.
- Hub/contact centre support across multiple sites to support extended hours and flexible working. Clinicians and support staff should be able to use the same system to make, receive and listen to calls, without the need for multiple logins.
- Auto attendant features and message configuration to ensure efficient call processing.
- Flexible call handling and queuing, so that people can be added to a distribution group quickly and easily.
- Estate-wide call handling performance to help ensure that calls are being answered promptly and efficiently.
- Links to existing staff directories to enable quick and simple implementation.
- GDPR and cybersecurity compliance, to ensure the appropriate treatment of patient data.
- The potential to apply artificial intelligence to patient calls, so that the rich information contained in call can be stored safely, and used to inform clinical care for the patient and, ultimately, the wider population.
- Being ready for new technologies, such as the ability to use different versions of video conferencing technology, and connectivity with HSCN.
Support for your GPs' and healthcare providers' needs
Telephony is a vital part of clinical care; it is the way most patients access GP services. As well as the features above, your system should be able to include:
- Support for mobile health workers by using mobile networks and dedicated SIMs, rather than having to rely on patchy broadband connectivity.
- Video conferencing for use between healthcare professionals, and the simple ability to make outbound and inbound video calls with patients.
- SMS messages for appointments confirmation and reminders, clinical and public health messages, such as flu vaccination reminders.
Support for your patients' needs
Patients rely on the telephone to contact their GP. Many current systems make this a frustrating process all round. Your GP telephony system should look to address this through:
- Patient-facing services that save time through more efficient self-service appointment booking and management, and selective delivery of calls to signposted NHS services.
- No appointments notification, so that they are told through an automated message if no appointments are available that day.
- Automatic queue busting/callback, so that patients get a callback if lines are busy.
- Multi-language support, so that speakers of non-English languages can effectively access GP services.
- Natural language speech recognition and interactive voice response, to make calls to the practice as efficient as possible for the patient.
- A patient app that gives direct access to surgery voice services and receptionists, the ability to view and change appointments directly in clinical systems, and video consultation options.
What your telephone system should deliver
From working with the right GP telephony supplier, you should realise some - if not all - the following benefits:
- Phones always answered
- Improved patient access, across extended hours
- Reduced DNAs
- Reduced patient complaints and increased patient satisfaction
- Enhanced practice productivity and staff satisfaction
- An impressive return on investment
- More time to care
X-on can help with all the above requirements. As one new customer mentioned, our Surgery Connect solution is "simple yet sophisticated and exactly what we need"
They added: "It all seems a little too good to be true but I'm very impressed!"
Talk to us to see how we can help you with your GP telephony and communication requirements, please call the Sales Team on 0333 332 0000.