The Hicks Group work across two surgery sites in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, providing clinics for child health surveillance, cervical smear tests, family planning and maternity care, plus performing minor surgical operations in a fully equipped treatment room. Plans are underway to merge with another two sites.
Growing demand meant that patients had to endure the 'fastest finger lottery' of trying to book appointments using overloaded and often outdated phone lines, causing huge frustrations all round.
Many patients were voicing, and at times even writing complaints to the surgery due to the difficulties they were having getting through via the phone system: "Patients were saying it was easier to turn up at the surgery in the morning to book an appointment, than to try get through on the phone."
The problem did not stop with the patients; it was also affecting the ability of staff to do their jobs efficiently and effectively: "We work across two sites at present, and we could not transfer calls between practices."
Surgery Connect enables calls to be queued, so that the first to call should be the first to be answered. Calls can be routed to the right person, rather than have to go through a single access point. It also comes with call recording, which enables the effective training of staff to enhance the service for patients: "We can review and listen in on calls to see what went well and where things could be improved, helping to enhance the patient experience."
The service also comes with a full audit trail of who rang and when, how long the call took, and the ability to search for phone numbers and calls. It also has data and a reporting dashboard that includes the number of calls the surgeries are missing - all services previously absent from the BT phone system. The surgery can measure what is happening around patient access, so it can better manage this process and deliver an enhanced patient experience.
The Hicks Group Says
"We can have unlimited lines and we can divert incoming calls to either of the numbers of our practices to the first available receptionist. This was especially useful recently when there was a power cut at one of our practices. One short call to the supplier and we had all our calls diverted to the operational practice, ensuring patients could get through despite the loss of power.
"Patients say they are much happier now, as they actually get a response, even if it is just to tell them they are held in a call queue. There is nothing more frustrating than calling a number and not being able to get through, which previously was the case. And staff find the system intuitive and easy to use.
"With the merger, we will need additional extensions. For us, Surgery Connect is our system for the future."
The Hicks Group
For further information on Surgery Connect please call Sales on 0333 332 0000.