If we’ve learnt anything from the challenges faces by surgeries throughout the Coronavirus pandemic it’s that having a robust, versatile, modern communications system is more than just a luxury. It’s an absolute necessity in maintaining the very best patient care as well as taking care of heavily burdened staff during a national emergency. We found that those surgeries who had already upgraded their telephone systems or who acted quickly when the pandemic hit, were able to function much more effectively throughout 2020 and into 2021.
Now, as lockdowns continues to ease across the UK and the vaccination programme continues with vigour, a return to ‘normal’ is in sight: is there really any need to invest in a new VoIP system?
It’s a resounding yes from us! Not only do patients still require excellent care as more routine ailments and enquiries are caught up with but it cannot hurt to reassure staff that should the very worst happen again, they will be able to adapt quickly and easily. A Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system works over an existing broadband line rather than an outdated ISDN system and is more flexible, cheaper over time and much more reliable. The benefits of upgrading will last your surgery well into the future:
Dedicated Phone Lines
As Covid is brought ever more under control, the surgery is likely facing a whole host of enquiries from people seeking treatment and reassurance for more traditional illnesses and ailments. Set up dedicated phonelines on your VoIP system to deal with the most common ones so that patients feel they are cared for and are able to reach a specialist who can help quickly and easily.
Keep in Touch with Community Practitioners
You may find over the coming months that more and more of your teams are being asked to go and see patients in their homes again or out in the community. VoIP handsets can be taken anywhere, plugged into a broadband router and will function just as a phone in the surgery would. Mobile phones can also be added to the network to provide additional options for keeping contact. Those working out in the field can continue to feel supported by their teams.
Don’t Leave Patients on Hold too Long
Auto-attendant is another invaluable VoIP feature which allows your system to identify the reason for incoming calls and using a comprehensive menu system to divert calls to the most appropriate destination to reduce wait times and frustration for callers, freeing up staff and reassuring callers.
Hunt Groups to Support Staff
A hunt group will allow one incoming call to ring on multiple lines, giving a team of staff the option of answering and reducing pressure on a single teammate. These are particularly useful in times of crisis as it reduces the burden on a single team member to field the calls AND they work incredibly effectively when teams are spread over distance i.e. home or remote working. It is also a handy feature for surgeries to have in day to day practice to spread the workload amongst a team.
A VoIP system will level up your communications with patients now and ensure your surgery is ready for absolutely any crisis the future might hold. It may not be something you want to think about but it is one of the easiest, cheapest and most beneficial things Practice Managers could do to protect their surgeries going forwards.
Contact the team at Equations on 01237 420010 for a no obligation chat.