Case Study

GP surgery enlists ITEC’s help to improve patient communications

Overview

Working with ITEC, Bottreaux Surgery in Cornwall has recently put in place a Mitel VoIP based telephone system in a determined and successful effort to meet and even exceed the expectations of its patients.


The Customer

Handling patient calls effectively is a challenge for many GP practices – few things in life, it seems, cause as many grumbles and complaints as not being able to get through to the surgery.

Bottreaux Surgery is a GP practice in Cornwall with a main surgery in Boscastle and a branch surgery in Tintagel. With three GPs and 5,000 patients, the practice covers an area of 100 square miles.

The Challenge

The practice used to have an on-premise Panasonic PBX with a mix of ISDN and analogue lines. The system was expensive to support and maintain, and staff had to remember to manually switch the system between different modes when they arrived in or left the office.

The real frustration with the old system, though, was that every incoming call had to go through reception – usually leading to a bottleneck of calls, especially in the morning. As a result, a recurring complaint from patients was: “I can never seem to get through to speak to anyone.”

The Solution

Working with ITEC, Bottreaux Surgery in Cornwall has recently put in place a Mitel VoIP based telephone system in a determined and successful effort to meet and even exceed the expectations of its patients.

The surgery’s Business Manager Matthew Gibbons puts it like this:
“The value of MiCloud Office is that it has allowed the surgery to deliver a first-class service to patients, putting them in touch with the most appropriate point of contact as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Complaints have dropped off markedly since Itec installed the SIP based hosted Mitel system. Patients start calling in from 8.30 every morning and the phones often remain very busy until mid-morning. Those calls might be a request for a GP appointment, a query for the dispensary or a conversation about medical tests. Mitel offloads calls from reception via an auto attendant IVR that routes calls efficiently to the appropriate person.

This element of self-service gives control to the patient. It turns out that a significant proportion of the surgery’s 5,000 patients are elderly, but age has not been a barrier to enthusiastic adoption of the new call system: feedback from patients has been very positive. Patients can choose the service they need, follow clear options and have their call effectively answered by the right person in a timely fashion.

A particularly useful feature is Mitel’s in-depth reporting capability. This analytic power has already generated interesting insights into how patients would prefer to use the services available at the practice. The surgery has discovered, for example, that most calls seeking the dispensary arrive at the time when the dispensary is closed for lunch – leading to a re-consideration of the optimum opening times within different areas of the practice.

Smarter Working

We have limited resources but even so we have been able to improve the quality of our patient service, improving the speed and efficiency with which we handle patient calls. It has also unburdened our 18 admin, clinical and reception staff and freed them up to do their jobs even more effectively than before.

Agility

A major attraction of the Mitel technology is its easy configurability, so we can design exactly how we want calls to be handled. It has filled us with confidence calls are being handled correctly. We even survived a power-cut caused by a recent storm.