Voice & Data Partnership is Tonic for GPs

The partnership between a leading telecoms company and a specialist in clinical systems is benefiting thousands of patients at GP practices across the UK. These patients are now finding it easier to make, cancel and rearrange appointments at their local surgery thanks to the successful integration of an automated appointment phone system with one of the UK’s most widely used clinical systems. Unified communications specialist Voice Connect, who supply the Patient Partner automated appointment service and TPP, who develop, deploy and support the SystmOne clinical system, have been working in partnership to ensure a full integration of the two systems.

Developed especially for GPs’ surgeries by Voice Connect, the Patient Partner system enables patients to phone their surgery around the clock, seven days a week, 365 days of the year to book, check or cancel appointments. This gives patients more choice in when they can call, thereby freeing up phone lines at traditionally busier times of day. “Now that Patient Partner is able to integrate seamlessly with SystmOne, many surgeries across the UK are finding it enables them to improve patient access,” explains David Harrison, Technical Director at Voice Connect. “In order to provide an around the clock automated service, Patient Partner needs to ‘talk’ to the GP practices’ electronic appointment booking systems. We have worked closely with TPP to enable SystmOne to do just that.”

Surgeries that have paired up the two systems are enthusiastic about the advantages that the integration brings. “Now that our practice uses Patient Partner alongside our SystmOne clinical system, we’re seeing more and more patients taking up the option to use it to book their appointments,” explains Karen Crook, Practice Manager at Carmel Medical Practice in Darlington. “Our patients can now telephone our practice at any time and book appointments with available GPs, which is particularly beneficial to patients that work odd hours. However, those who do wish to book an appointment with a specific GP can still speak to a receptionist during surgery working hours.”

With over 275 surgeries having installed Patient Partner since its inception in 2004, the success of the Voice Connect and TPP partnership is good news for staff and patients. “Both the number of GP practices using SystmOne, and the demand for Patient Partner is increasing at a rapid rate,” adds David Harrison. “The integration of the two systems will potentially benefit hundreds of GP practices nationwide.”

TPP Director, Drew Littler, is also pleased with the success of the collaboration. “Our partnership with Voice Connect complements a number of others providing SystmOne users and their patients with a wide range of possibilities for booking and managing appointments. We feel that any service, such as Patient Partner, which helps patients access healthcare whilst reducing workload for staff is worth investing in; we are delighted to be able to offer this facility to our customers.”