Patient Partner helps offer a better standard of care.
Voice Connect have installed our Patient Partner system at a surgery in North East Cheshire. The two-site practice covers a boundary of 150 sq.km, with the main surgery being situated in the market town of Frodsham and the branch surgery being located in the nearby village of Kingsley.
The practice has over 12,000 patients on its list, drawing from a demographic with a higher than average proportion of residents over the age of 65. The practice staff includes 8 GPs, 5 nurses, 2 HCAs, 2 phlebotomists and 30 administrative and reception staff.
Ensuring patients find it easy to contact the surgery is a major concern for the practice management team. Having introduced an online system for booking appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions, it was decided that an automated telephone appointment booking system would be a more inclusive solution to further extending patient access.
Practice Manager Paul Smith explains: “Although our online system works well, it leaves a deficit of patients without access to the internet who cannot take advantage of 24/7 availability. Having looked at the options available, we decided that Voice Connect’s Patient Partner would be a perfect fit with our online service, ensuring full availability for all patients.”
Paul was proved right as Patient Partner proved popular from the word go. “Within the first month, Patient Partner had become the preferred option for booking appointments online,” he explains. “Our patients are very happy to have this as an easy-to-use option.” In a typical month, patients use the system to complete around 500 appointment actions. Usage peaks around lunchtime andin the morning; this service is also used during the weekends. Many patients also use Patient Partner to cancel their appointments.
“The staff have noticed a significant decrease in call volumes, especially at the the traditionally busy times.”
“The support from Voice Connect has been first class”
Unlike booking via the internet, users don’t have to remember a password. Those using the automated system simply enter their date of birth and telephone number, making it simpler and quicker to use. The service is available 24/7 and also gives patients the option of choosing a female or male doctor as the ability to select specific GPs.
However, whilst patient satisfaction is very important, for the system to work properly, it also needs staff approval. Reception staff report that Patient Partner has reduced the number of calls they have to deal with, easing pressure on reception, particularly during peak call times such as Monday mornings.
In fact, installing Patient Partner has helped with a variety of issues. As well as easing call congestion, the system has raised patient satisfaction levels, ensured better communication levels between surgery staff and patients and improved call handling, reducing the stress placed on surgery staff.
Paul is pleased to report that the transition process all worked very smoothly, despite the sophistication of the technology involved. “The planning, installation and operation process for Patient Partner was probably the least problematical install of a highly complex and technical system we have ever had – in fact, there were no problems,” he says. “From the planning day through the install and switch on, we felt in control and able to demonstrate to staff what would happen at a very early stage. During and since that time, the support form Voice Connect has been first class.”
Paul also has two words for any surgery looking to improve communication and access by using Patient Partner: “Do it!”.