NHS Princes St Surgery, Dundee: reducing costs while dramatically improving patients’ experience
More patients means more people calling the practice, and its telephone system was struggling to cope. Not only that, but it was impossible for the manager to work out the precise nature of the problem, because the system did not provide key information such as how quickly the practice was picking up calls or how many it was missing.
As Silver Cloud already manages more than 100 NHS sites in Scotland, the practice manager was aware of us. She asked us for help.
With so much relevant experience to draw on, we were able to quickly understand the problems and design a solution that solved all of them. It was based around a new telephone system which brought in several new features. Call queuing, for example, which reduced callers’ waiting time; and automatic call distribution. which sent calls to people in the reception team in the most efficient way.
We also added a piece of software that provided call reporting. This shows the management team when call volumes are heavy, and how well people are able to respond. And we introduced call recording, which helps to train staff and to resolve disputes quickly.
We made sure that the system was scalable, so that it could cope if demand increases even further in the future.
Finally, we were also able to suggest features that improved communication between the management team and the doctors.
With every client, we know how important it is to introduce a new system without disrupting the practice’s work. We installed it over a weekend, and when people returned to work on Monday a training team was on hand to help them use the new system.
Patients now find it much easier to get through, even at peak times, and the practice team deals with queries more efficiently. This has significantly reduced the number of complaints, which frees up management time.
Managers also now have the information they need to make decisions about staffing levels and other ways to further improve access for patients. And all this has been achieved at a lower cost than with the previous system.
All of this means that everyone in the Princes Street Surgery is able to spend more of their time and attention on helping patients. That’s a good outcome for everyone.
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