Doctors hoping to improve their online ranking on the newly launched ‘NHS Choices’ website could turn to technology to improve their scores, predicts Voice Connect MD Stefan Olsberg. The NHS website which started offering the online facility earlier this month allows patients to see how surgeries are rated for areas such as overall patient experience, waiting to be seen for appointments and overall clinical care. The site reveals to the general public the full results of recent patient surveys in a form where they can compare local surgeries to one another.
The survey asked one million patients to rate their GP surgeries out of 10 for a range of issues including, level of care, how easy it is to book an appointment and how well they communicated with patients.
Whilst many of the areas of comparison, such as car parking, cannot be easily changed, the patients’ experience of out of hours appointment booking, and their ability to book appointments can be quickly improved according to Stefan. “Almost 1 in 10 surgeries are now using integrated telephone appointment booking systems such as Patient Partner. This means that patients can book, move or cancel appointments any time, night or day. By making appointments easier to book, offering more choice and improving access to other services such as repeat prescriptions, patients’ overall satisfaction increases”.
The nationwide survey by the Department of Health that targeted more than 8,000 surgeries in England, will enable patients to decide which practice is best for them, whilst pushing surgeries to make improvements and drive forward professional standards.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “Our helpline is seeing a trend of increasing complaints about GPs, covering a number of areas, including difficulties obtaining an appointment, complaints about behaviour of reception staff and other factors that affect their overall experience”.
Voice connect have been working with practices for over a decade to improve booking facilities for patients, with a range of solutions for booking and cancelling appointments and ordering prescriptions.