Over the last two years, we have been increasing numbers of conversations with surgeries who are grouping together to share resources. This may be in small local hubs, larger alliances and federations, or CCG wide initiatives.
Ensuring that the IT, Clinical Systems and Telephony work across these groups and take advantages of the economies of scale is a complex task and sometimes the IT resources to make it happen are not immediately available. The factors driving consolidation may be include:
- To ensure everyone in the group is on the same system and sharing similar working practices
- To share workload, particularly processing incoming calls and appointment booking, but occasionally triage and extended hours working
- To get economies of scale by deploying large project systems
In the last case, we have observed increasing availability of funding since, with systems like Surgery Connect, telephony no longer is just 'an office system' but instead an IT solution - 'Telephony as a Service'. Consequently, federations and CCGs can make substantive and successful cases for funding to achieve efficiency within the GP Practice.
Information on this is not always easy to come by. As a Surgery Connect customer, we would like to help you by discussing where we have seen cost effective routes to making Surgery Connect the system of choice across various groups. This can help you by reducing costs and you can help us by having conversations with representatives of CCGs and CSUs who may be interested in discussing telephony and IT consolidation as a larger funded project.
If you would like to discuss this further, have a chat with your Account Manager, or our National Sales Manager, Debbie Hughes, or Managing Director, Paul Bensley. We are always on hand to discuss your experiences, good or bad.
If you are considering the use of desktop video for the practice, we would like to hear from you. This may be for internal secure video conferences, or for video triage calls with patients (optionally securely recorded and appended to patient records).
As promised last month, we now have made Calendars available as an alternative, and eventually to replace, the Auto Timers on Surgery Connect.
Calendars are much more flexible. You can set any number of regular events to change the way in which your phone calls are handled. So for example, if you know when your training days are going to be into the future, you can program these up front avoiding last minute panics. There are unlimited holiday dates (sadly this doesn't mean we can promise unlimited holidays) and you can automatically import UK standard bank holidays. In summary, we don't think there is any scheduled events that cannot be accommodated with Calendars.
Because of the added flexibility, we need to train you in calendar use and discuss your requirements. For this reason, we are not introducing them automatically on everyone's service. Instead we will be introducing them gradually during January. However, if you feel there is some urgent scheduling requirement that the Calendars may help with, give our support team a call and we will try and fit your service in for early migration.