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  • Simplyfree

Since Omicron our phones don’t stop ringing….

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

Call volume for Medical Centres/GP Practices has increased by over 350% on a daily basis. This changes how your business will operate.

If you have heard from your staff and support teams that are patient-facing for your Medical Centre that the phones don’t stop ringing, it’s true. Increases in call volume to Medical Practices have skyrocketed since Omicron started to spread throughout the NZ community.

We know this because our specialist HCH reporting software that we developed for Medical Centres to comply with Department of Health requirements, has provided the data and analytics to what is happening in each one of our Medical Centre clients. This is an unprecedented change in the way your business has to operate, is impacted and results in massive disruption.

We have been talking to all of our Medical Centre clients and they have told us that the following challenges and problems have been the most common when running their General Practitioners business/Medical Centre;

  • Staff being off sick or isolating

  • Having enough staff to answer calls

  • Increased length of calls due to patients wanting to know more about Covid/Omicron

  • Providing staff with the capacity to work from home

  • Having enough office space in the practice to house additional staff to answer the phones and calls

  • Filtering calls for services outside of Covid e.g. speak to a nurse

From those discussions and the experience, we have gained over the last 15 years of providing and customising VoIP telephone systems we understand that your Medical Centre can grind to a halt if your telephone traffic, system and procedures are not working in harmony with your business. This is what we have done for most of our clients and are the recommended steps we suggest you consider to ensure your Medical Centre/GP Practice works more efficiently and cuts down some of the stress for your staff and team during this time.

Each Medical Centre will be different based on size, number of patients, amount of call traffic, systems and processes set up in the practices. This is what we recommend you look at and consider;

  • Use a traffic flow plan and set up incoming channels for priority

  • Install a Real-time wallboard so you can look at call volume, wait times and missed calls amongst other data – this can be done on the Practice Managers PC

  • Select an unlimited Lines package – this ensures you can always access a line to make an outgoing call and patients calling in will never get a busy tone they will always be answered and put in a queue

  • Select an unlimited call package so you can control your call costs

  • Set up your VoIP configuration so staff and Doctors can unplug the phone on their desk and plug it in at home so it continues to work as an extension. There are options to use your Smartphone or laptop as the device to take and make calls

  • Analyse the data to look at peak call times and when to allocate resources to manage the peaks and flows of the practice

  • Deal direct with the VoIP platform provider to reduce support time responses. A company looking after its own platform will respond faster to issues than when going through a 3rd party reseller

  • Set up intelligent call routing rules to manage flow and priority of incoming traffic.

If you are struggling to get your telephone system set up to work efficiently, productively and effectively we can help by providing a free consultation. We take a look at your existing system, discover how you have set up your call flows and responses, evaluate if you have implemented processes by using some of the latest features available in the technology and provide recommendations to ensure your business will be able to implement improvements and operate with less stress. There is no obligation to the free consultation. We have been fortunate that many NZ GP Practices have been migrating over to the Simplyfree Medtel platform, VoIP technology solution and specialist software to help make improvements to their Medical Centres.

Medical Centres are some of the most stressful businesses we have as clients when comparing call volumes. Simplyfree have the technology and experience to provide practical solutions to make your work environment less stressful and more efficient.

Mark Farrell is the Managing Director of Simplyfree Medtel. Simplyfree Medtel is a leading supplier of telephone technology and management systems for NZ Medical Centres and GP Practices.

If you need help to migrate to VoIP PABX, call Simplyfree.

Simplyfree is based in Wellington, New Zealand and provides smart business phone solutions such as Fibre, Broadband, Toll-Free, 0800 numbers, Unified Communications, Conference Calls, Call waiting, Call queuing, Voicemail to email, call recording, video team meetings and more!

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