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GP Guide to The Perfect Surgery Phone System

Health institutions, hospitals, clinics and gp private practices all need a premier, efficient telecommunications system. Communication is vital in the medical industry. Fortunately, there are many telecoms specialists that are dedicated to designing and implementing a phone system that can improve the overall efficiency of surgeries and even reduce phone and broadband costs. You can better manage communication between your patients and healthcare professionals. Your practice can become more efficient and more effective.

Different practices have different needs. You can have a system designed that can accommodate all your practice’s requirements. In order to do this, a telecoms expert must examine the daily administrational duties of your surgery as well as identify the primary needs of your staff and patients. By doing so, you can have a system specific and configured to your unique needs that complements the dynamics of your surgery.

When choosing a telephone system provider, make sure that the system they offer allows for future expansion. It should be able to expand and evolve as your surgery evolves. This way, you can be sure that you are making a wise investment. We can help find you the right provider for your needs, just fill out the form in the top of the site, to receive up to 3 relevant quotations.

Importance of a robust telephone system in GP Surgeries

Access

There are many patients and they commonly outstrip the supply of doctors. Daytime telephone triage has become the norm for a lot of doctors in able to juggle their appointments, prioritize emergencies and reduce waiting times. Government directives such as the Extended Access have driven changes in the consultancy practice with an increasing number of clinical contacts through telephone. Telemedicine may help to meet the gap and make a practice more flexible.

Consumer demand

Many patients expect to get medical advice on the go. Almost everyone has mobile devices to communicate with their surroundings. They have access to better and faster technologies and so they expect the same from their providers, vendors and even medical experts. Many patients and their families expect to be contactable wherever they are. Just take for example your doctor being interrupted frequently by a beeping phone during a consultation. This world has created a demand for telephone consultation.

Out of hours

Even after a doctor’s shift, patients, the hospital or the practice still need to contact him from time to time. Out of hours calls to be connected to the doctors’ mobile network is a must. It enables them to separate their personal numbers from their work phone.

Targets

Many quality targets can be utilised with the right set-up; for example, staff can be located promptly, attendance can be monitored more efficiently or a patient with a chronic disease can be monitored without the need to come in to the surgery.

Important things to look for

Here are the most important things to take into consideration when choosing a telephone system.

VPN Services

A Virtual Private Network can create a private network between multiple surgeries. By utilizing this service, your practice will be able to efficiently communicate using voice calls, emails, video conferencing, file transfers, database queries, etc.

Business Broadband

Everyone relies on the Internet to do daily tasks. In your practice, you might rely on it for processing patient care and emails. Your practice definitely needs a business-level broadband connection in order to support your daily voice and data needs. You can choose from a selection of business broadband packages with high speed, reliable Internet access. Some providers offer a variety of ADSL business broadband packages with download speeds of around 24MB and an upload speed of up to 1MB. You can also get unlimited downloads, a free static IP address and a built-in security software. Choose a high-quality, guaranteed connection that also includes web content filtering and firewalls.

Structured Cabling

This is a single flexible cabling infrastructure that can support all your surgery’s tech devices. It can handle voice and data services as well as multimedia and network systems. You can get all aspects of your practice to function in harmony.

Additional services

Integrate your CRM with your telephone system

You can integrate your CRM software, so when there is an incoming call, the patient’s records can pop up on your screen. You will be able to see all their details as you speak with them. You can click a patient’s name and call them from their patient record. You can record inbound and outbound calls for reference. These recordings can automatically be tied into the patient’s record. You can measure compliance, allow trainings and staff appraisals by using the detailed reports on both inbound and outbound calls on the system.

Call Recording

Telephone triage is becoming increasingly popular. Telephone calls often need to be recorded for regulatory compliance as well as for staff training and monitoring. You can search and play recordings by patient name and to retrieve recordings from the CRM.

Lines and calls

Some practices have really tight budgets. There are providers that can save you money on your phone lines and calls. Some providers even use carbon neutral lines and calls that include several free eco features to help you save money and make your operations greener.

Mobiles for health professionals

You can get mobile phone configuration to suit your particular circumstance at a price you can afford. A package usually includes in-group minute bundles and on-net inclusive minutes for fixed lines to mobile connections. You can call a mobile number from your system without worrying about the costs. You can get pay as you go packages to help you manage your budget better.

Benefits and risks

The telephone can be both a blessing and a curse. The modern telephone system offers cost savings and efficiency but it also makes your practice available 24/7. If you cannot keep up with the demand, you might experience some problems. However, there are different ways you can use telephone consultations and even triage. At the end of the day, it’s how you utilize your system. Let’s discuss the benefits.

Patient’s benefits

Obviously, telemedicine is perceived to be more convenient and faster. Phone consultation is better for chronic disease patients to follow up about their progress.

It is an easier access to self-care advice. Patients are also educated well as they can ask their doctors rather than going on the Internet and doing research on their own.

Telemedicine also enables patients without their own means of transport to contact their doctors directly. Patients who are disabled who find it difficult to go to the surgery will find this a great solution. Patients who are tied to their jobs and who cannot afford to take a leave of absence will also benefit from this setup. Geographical problems are also solved with this kind of setup especially if it is the only way to seek urgent help.

Doctor’s benefits

Doctors can move the information instead of the patient. Some telephone reviews are more cost-effective than face-to-face appointments without sacrificing clinical value or even the patient’s satisfaction.

Practices can use a triage system for same-day appointments to ensure that patients who need to be seen can be given appointments at times when demand is high.

Telephone consultations can reduce a doctor’s workload helping more patients in a small amount of time, which may also mean less use of vehicles thereby reducing carbon footprint.

Risks

Documentation is less rigorous with a telephone consultation.

Most symptoms may need a physical evaluation and therefore need a doctor’s experience and intuition in order to be diagnosed correctly.

This form of consultation is riskier as it eliminates traditional sources of information such as visual information gleaned from observing a patient’s physical appearance and behavior. It also eliminates physical examination and non-verbal cues.

Trust is also a problem with fewer face-to-face consultations. Trust is built over time with continuous personal communication and interaction.

The wrong phone system may have little overall effect on the GP Surgery’s service. It can also be a cause for loss of opportunities for health promotion.

Although some patients may gain benefits with this setup, it may also reduce access for patients who have poor English skills, those who have sensory or cognitive impairments and those without access to a telephone.

Some patients may liken telephone triage to calling a call centre. They can get frustrated with engaged phone lines. There is also the issue about call rates to surgeries being high.

This setup also makes it difficult for the GP to issue documents such as a medical certificate where they are required to sign and to certify that they have seen a patient. Some offices may not deem a telephone consultation the same as a face-to-face appointment.

However, the government has emphasized that phone consultations should not diminish the quality of patient care especially in instances where the patient is not previously known by the doctor, the assessment may be helped by a physical exam and there is little or no provision at all for the appropriate monitoring of the patient.

Providers

Here are some GP Surgery telephone system providers in the UK.

Premier Patient Line

This company has provided surgeries across the UK with efficient telecommunications systems. Their specialists are dedicated to designing and implementing a phone system that will improve the overall efficiency of your surgery and at the same time reduce previous phone and broadband costs.

They can design a system that can accommodate all your practice’s needs. They will examine your daily administrational duties as well as identify the primary needs of patients and staff. By doing so, they can create a system and configuration which complements the dynamics of your surgery. All their systems are expandable. You can expand and evolve your telephone system according to your surgery’s needs.

Premier Patient Line has an ISO 9000 accreditation and are also a leading Panasonic telephony provider. They have the highest possible accreditation as a Panasonic Alliance Partner in the UK. They can provide clients state of the art telephone systems with exclusive industry insights.

They offer VPN, broadband, Ethernet and cabling services.

Berry Telecom

The Berry portfolio can cater to a large hospital or a small GP surgery. They have systems and apps that will help bring flexibility and efficiency to your practice.

They offer a wide range of features that includes Call Recording which provides protection for both patient and doctors as well as the facility to review service quality and on-going training requirements.

All calls are recorded easily. A rapid search engine can quickly look for archived calls based on caller ID, time, date, patient or department. If staff needs privacy, the surgery can assign an extension to be record-free.

A virtual switchboard allows users to log in or out of the switchboard anywhere in the surgery. Users can quickly adapt to changes in call volume during peak hours. The built-in call queuing facility diverts the next available call to the available operator. For practices that provide a residential healthcare service, the Berry OfficeServ Hospitality is very useful.

The phone system can integrate with a Front House software so that staff can easily manage bookings, room status, special requirements, room availability, etc. easier.

When choosing a provider…

Make sure that the provider adheres to all security and health standards in your area. It is imperative that your patient protected.

There are providers that offer you several telephone brands to choose from while some only offer one. These kinds of providers are usually accredited by the brand. They have the full support and utilize the technology and best practices of the brand they carry. You can expect to get the latest technology and equipment that the brand offers.

Get a provider that can give you state of the art telephone systems but be wary of the cost. There are excellent systems that are affordable.  An ISO accreditation is also a plus.

Choose a provider that can give you the right telephone system and not sell you something that looks impressive but in reality, is useless for your business. Be wise when choosing the features that you include in your package. Remember, you will be paying for them so you need to make sure that your practice will be able to use them daily.

Technology is rapidly changing the way we communicate. Your practice should be able to keep up. Tap into a wealth of knowledge that could help your practice work smarter and save money. Improve your communications in order to have happy, satisfied patients.