Coastal Medical Partnership is a five-practice group in Hampshire formed in 2019, primarily caring for patients in the Lymington and New Milton area.
Demand on the Coastal Medical Partnership rose during the pandemic and the surgeries wanted to consolidate their telephony into one simple solution. However, they did not want to lose any of their individual local telephone numbers.
They also needed the option for staff to travel from one practice to another and still have the ability to use the system wherever they were working.
swcomms recommended a Gamma Horizon cloud-hosted telephone system for 137 users across the partnership. The Horizon solution is recognised as a flexible, yet robust, service for general practice. It can be implemented across multiple sites and accessed from wherever staff are working, as long as they have internet access.
The Horizon solution immediately helped the partnership handle the additional demand created by the pandemic. With extra call capacity on a per-user basis, the reception teams can handle more calls, while medical practitioners are still able to call out to speak with patients.
The system utilises an automated attendant to direct patients to the right department as quickly as possible, thereby reducing the risk of a caller that needs urgent care getting stuck in a call queue behind other calls. The partnership uses pre-recorded messages to welcome and direct patients, “Press 1 for appointments, 2 for test results”, etc., as well as informing callers of any news items or updates, such as amended hours, surgery closures, flu jab clinic dates or out-of-hours contact details.
These features mean that patients are dealt with in a timely manner and ensures that those in the most urgent need are prioritised. If no staff are available to take a call, the system allows for fair patient queuing, until a member of the team is free.
The Horizon solution is integrated with their SystmOne software to enable staff to view patient records as they call in to contribute to a more streamlined answering service and a reduction in waiting times.
Coastal Medical Partnership also opted for the integration of the Akixi wallboard extension to display real-time information on call queues and average waiting times.
Combined with the Horizon user portal, which enables the practice managers to monitor call volumes, missed and dropped calls, and to add or amend users on the system, the partnership has clear view of the demands on each surgery and how they can distribute staff to meet these needs.
The flexibility of the Horizon system means that even when staff are working from multiple surgeries throughout the week, they are still able to log in and out of the same phone system with ease.
An important requirement of the migration to a new telephony solution was the retention of their existing local phone numbers. We answered this need using Gamma’s number porting service.
This important element of the deployment process was overseen by one of our project managers.
The partnership has been assigned a dedicated account manager to help them with any queries regarding their solution, and should any issues arise, our support team are on hand to assist.
“We moved all our five sites across to swcomms in Jan/Feb 2022. The reasons for doing so was to improve reliability and customer service versus our old supplier, and also to improve functionality with features such as better queueing systems with position number stated, click-to-call, and improved call centre features. This was also a response to patient feedback on surveys and PPG discussions.
“So far, we are very pleased. The install team were superb in dealing with a large number of handsets being installed across five sites, and the training was excellent.
“Already, the reliability, programming and recording features, and helpful data being produced about the level of calls, is as we hoped, if not better, and the service received has been excellent.
“On top of this, the price we are paying is less than we were before. I would thoroughly recommend swcomms to any GP practice looking to update their systems.”
Matt Perkins, business manager
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Read our blog: Patient survey highlights the importance of an effective phone system
Read our blog: Questions to ask when considering a new phone system
Read our blog: How can a modern phone system help GP surgeries lighten the load?
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