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A Unified Communications case study.

The Malthouse Surgery Telephony Project

Project Objectives

  • Provide a new on-premise telephone system that conforms to NHS Standards
  • Replace all existing IP Handsets
  • Provide a system that will allow the practice to manage inbound calls from patients more effectively
  • Reduce patient wait times and complaints
  • Provide live and historical call statistics, allowing the practice to monitor and react accordingly to peaks and troughs in patient calls
  • Incorporate an internal application that allows all practice colleagues to have visibility of everyone’s availability
  • Deliver a resilient and stable platform
  • Provide an exceptional service level with a 4-hour fix for major issues
  • Reduce operational costs by providing line rental and call cost savings

About the Malthouse Surgery

The Malthouse Surgery (based in Abingdon) is the largest of 82 practices in Oxfordshire with close to 20,000 patients. They regularly receive in excess of 1,000 calls per day.

The doctors and staff are proud to offer the highest standard of patient-centred healthcare. They run many clinics for the management of chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes and offer a wide variety of other medical services including antenatal and postnatal care, minor surgery, childhood vaccinations and well-person check-ups. They have a range of different staff to support their patients, including GPs, Nurses, Healthcare Assistants, Clinical Pharmacists, Physiotherapists and Care Navigators.

Patients can book routine appointments with a Malthouse Surgery GP (or other clinician) by phone, online or by visiting the surgery. For more serious conditions, where patients need to see a clinician urgently (within 24 hours), you will be telephone triaged during the day by a duty GP. In this instance the patient’s medical condition will be discussed internally and appropriate action will be provided.

"DuoCall was certainly the best value for money... not only did we reduce costs by a third, but our patients no longer had to pay for calls." - David Ridgway, Practice Manager at The Malthouse Surgery

David Ridgway shakes Andrew Ringsell's hand at the Malthouse Surgery

The Requirement

The Malthouse Surgery wanted to replace their legacy digital telephone system as it was not meeting their requirements. This system needed to be succeeded by a modern, future proofed and application rich solution that would be easy to administer and use on a day-to-day basis.

The new system would need the capability to support all forty-five existing users and provide an upgrade path to further expand (should it be required in the future).

The surgery’s main requirements were to exceed their patients’ expectations with shorter queue times and to provide a more informative service to both patients (in terms of queue position) and staff (in terms of how many callers were waiting to be dealt with).

The Malthouse Surgery quickly realised that the new solution needed to include inbuilt call handling applications. This would be the only way to give the practice the real-time information they needed to improve patient contact.

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“Patients waited a long time for their calls to be answered and our 0844 number meant they paid for the inconvenience at the same time.

The legacy system was good at telling us how many people were calling at various times of the day, but only after the event; there was no way to monitor real-time activity."

David Ridgway Testimonial | DuoCall Telephony
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Our Solution

Unify provide an all-in-one Unified Communications platform capable of supporting trunks, extensions and applications all from one unit. This solution would play an important role in meeting the guidelines set by the practice’s IT partner.

The system delivers comprehensive, easy-to-use, secure and reliable communications services that track calls in real time.

Key benefits:

  • All in one UC Solution reducing the amount of active equipment on site
  • MyAgent Contact Centre software, providing queuing with queue position, Live Call Statistics and the ability to move agents around in queues and present skill levels to handle more or less calls
  • MyPortal for all internal staff to see availability, presence status, IM, visual voice mail indication
  • New IP Handsets with Gigabit upload so as not to reduce network speed
  • Enhanced historical call reporting with automatically generating email reports
  • Support and Technical Assistance at all times
  • 4 Hour emergency response to major issues
  • Full OpenReach management and one bill for all services
DuoCall helps The Malthouse Surgery improve customer satisfaction

The Malthouse Surgery invited us to tender and review all available services that the practice used. This included a full test of the existing 0844 services to determine the level of queuing patients were receiving. We also reviewed their historical call trends to calculate how many members of staff were needed to handle their inbound calls during peak times.

Once this process was complete, we spoke with our supplying partners and reviewed the Unify solutions that utilise the MyPortal and MyAgent Application suites.

We discussed at length with the practice about the necessity of migrating to a system capable of supporting applications rather than one with several ‘bolt on’ services and hosted numbers; only then would they achieve their goals.

A full demonstration of the services, along with explanation videos, was provided to the practice and meetings were held with staff (and managers) to outline what the new system was capable of delivering.

Once DuoCall had been successful during the tender process we implemented a unique project plan and designed the installation to fit around The Malthouse Surgery’s opening hours, thus minimising disruption.

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“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 customer’s) experience was improved.

The change of system and installation of software took place over a weekend, avoiding practice hours. The new system (with a new local number) was up and running successfully before 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.”

Andrew Ringsell on The Malthouse Surgery Telephony Project | DuoCall
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Onsite Migration

“We went to tender and DuoCall was certainly the best value for money when comparing levels of support. They provided technical support and training on the new system, floor walking for the first couple of days and immediately followed up on any adjustments required of the new system.

Not only did we reduce costs by a third, but our patients no longer had to pay for calls to an 0844 number, which is an added bonus.

The call management system is very useful and we can now see who is calling the surgery (as well as how many callers are queuing) in real time, increasing or removing resource to maximise our workforce as needed.

Before the migration, we previously averaged two or three complaints about lengthy call queues (or paying to call an 0844 number) each week. In the last 6 months we have not received one complaint about the telephone system." - David Ridgway, Practice Manager at The Malthouse Surgery

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