Kenmure Medical Practice: a new phone system to cope with call volumes

The background

The Kenmure Medical Practice is in Bishopriggs, in the north of the greater Glasgow area. With five partners, two trainee GPs and a full nursing and admin team, it looks after around 8,000 patients.

We asked the Practice Manager, Pamela Doran, about the practical communications challenges she deals with.

“We’re always busy, so time management is very important – being able to answer patients as quickly and efficiently as we can. Most of our enquiries come via telephone, so our phone system is a vital part of those efforts to be efficient.”

The challenge

In 2017, Pamela decided that it was time to change the phone system, as it was clearly out of date and didn’t provide many features that the practice needed. Another practice recommended Silver Cloud, so Pamela asked us to come in.

Pamela knew what was possible and told us clearly what the practice needed. Three things were paramount: an auto attendant feature (a voice menu that allows callers to find the right extension without speaking to a receptionist), specific recorded messages telling people what to do in particular situations, and a line dedicated to taking messages from callers.

We spoke to Pamela to get a full understanding of how the practice worked and what it needed, then put together a package that did everything required. Pamela says:

“The proposal met our needs exactly. Silver Cloud explained the process of changing over very clearly, and all the costs, so we quickly decided to go ahead.”

As the reception staff use the phone much more than anyone else in the practice, Pamela made sure that they were closely involved in every stage of the process: deciding what was needed, changing over to the new system, and initial training. This made it much easier for us to ensure that our solution worked for them.

Our solution

Our first priority was to reduce the pressure on the reception staff, who were struggling to deal with the volume of calls that the practice received each day. As the practice was using ISDN2e lines, there wasn’t much scope to improve things while keeping their existing set-up.

We brought in a new Samsung system. We moved the practice from the old ISDN lines to SIP trunks, which give far more flexibility and control over the routing of calls. The new system also included an ‘auto attendant’ feature, which allows patients to select the correct extension for their enquiry (make an appointment, order a repeat prescription, get test results and so on). Prescription calls are now handled by an automated voicemail service; this reduces pressure on the reception team and allows them to deal with more inbound calls.

Kenmure was still in contract with their current supplier. They initially thought they would have to see out the remainder of the agreement, but we were able to settle these financial obligations. That meant that Kenmure started saving money straight away, as they paid nothing upfront and our competitive rates reduced their monthly outgoings.

The result

Pamela says:

“The new system has given us everything we wanted, and we’re entirely happy with it. Patients who want to request a new supply of existing prescriptions can now do this by leaving a message rather than speaking to someone. That’s much quicker for them and more efficient for us.

“Also, with the old system the phones would just ring and ring until someone answered them. Now calls are answered immediately, and we can use automated messages to give patients some or all of the information they need before they speak to anyone. We’re also able to tell people, for example, that results are available between 11am and 6pm. That avoids the old problem of everybody calling at 8.30am. We believe in doing work as it comes in, but a few small restrictions like that really help us to manage our busiest periods.”

“It’s a massive efficiency saving. And it has allowed us to change the way we work: to do tasks at regular times, such as checking the messages abut prescriptions twice a day. So we’re able to manage our work much better. In an environment where most people are working close to their maximum capacity most of the time, that makes a big difference.”

And she is just as satisfied with the ongoing relationship:

“When we have queries or requests, we know the name of the person we need to speak to, and it’s always dealt with quickly. You don’t get that personal touch from every supplier, and it’s something that we particularly appreciate with Silver Cloud.”

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