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New Technology Just the Tonic for Patients

New technology is transforming patients’ experience at one of the largest GP practices in the UK.

The Malthouse Surgery in Abingdon has eliminated complaints about its phone system, cut telecoms expenditure by a third and reduced patient call costs and waiting times following the installation of a new phone system.

The surgery is the largest of 82 GP practices in Oxfordshire with close to 20,000 patients and can receive more than a thousand calls a day.

The surgery had used a 0844 number but more than 20 people at a time could be in a call queue.

Practice Manager David Ridgway replaced the service earlier this year with a bespoke telecommunications system from telecoms provider DuoCall Communications who have offices in Oxfordshire and South Yorkshire.

“The old system was great at telling us how many people were calling at various times of the day, but only after the event. There was no easy way for staff to read and manage the real time activity, leading to some patients waiting a long time for the call to be answered and because of the 0844 number they paid for the inconvenience at the same time,” explained David Ridgway.“ 

“We went to tender and DuoCall provided a competitively priced quote, along with the best value for money option when comparing the level of input before and support after installation. They provided technical support/training on the new system, floor walking for the first couple of days and following up on any adjustments required of the new system immediately.”

David revealed the new system had reduced costs by a third with the added bonus that patients no longer pay for calls to a 0844 number.

“The call management system is really useful and we can now see in real time who is calling the surgery and how many people are queuing, increasing or removing resource as needed to maximise our workforce,” added David.

“Previously we averaged two or three complaints a week from patients about queuing for a long period when calling the surgery or having to call a 0844 number. Since January we have not received one complaint about the telephone system, making for happier patients and a happier workforce who previously had to deal with the (rightly) disgruntled patients.”

Andrew Ringsell, Channel Director at DuoCall said: “We work hard to understand our customers’ needs and ensure we deliver solutions which, not only work, but deliver real benefits. The level of call volumes experienced at The Malthouse Surgery was a significant requirement that the new system had to meet. We spent a long time analysing call volumes and flows to ensure that the patients and our customers experience was improved.

“The change of system and installation of software took place out of practice hours and over a weekend. The new system with a new local number was up and running successfully on a Monday morning, the surgery’s busiest period of the week. It is excellent to know the system is reducing complaints and saving money for both patients and the surgery.”

DuoCall offers high quality landline, mobile, data products and services across a range of industries including the NHS, hotels, schools and the motor trade.

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