X-on has rapidly developed a softphone version of its cloud-based Surgery Connect healthcare phone system to enable Primary Care Networks to provide patients with a single dedicated number and support process for booking an appointment at community vaccination hubs.
The number is being made available for patients contacting vaccination centres set up by local PCNs, and through softphone technology will immediately identify to GP practice staff the purpose of the call and help direct and manage it.
The X-on system, initially introduced by PCNs in Worcestershire, Warwickshire and areas of London ahead of wider roll-out, offers an automatic phone call or SMS function to send out appointment details and reminders. With many of the first cohort of vaccination recipients relying on landlines, this service ensures they receive necessary updates - which may be missed with SMS alone - and directly connects them to the appointment booking service so that they do not have to call back to book in.
Surgery Connect also integrates closely with EMIS Web and SystmOne clinical systems, resulting in a more efficient contact process between patients and practices.
Holly Johnson, Operations Supervisor at South Worcestershire GP federation SW Healthcare, said: "PCNs are starting to roll out vaccinations in parts of the UK in the knowledge that the demand will be considerable. As a result, we are doing all we can to ensure that they are equipped as best they can be for the inevitable influx of essential communication between GPs and patients.
"The software provided by X-on will play a key role in helping our staff to manage vaccinations throughout our local population. Booking patient appointments, for example, will form one of the earliest phases of the process. If we can ensure that communication is handled effectively at this stage, it paves the way for a much smoother and more effective system overall."
Paul Bensley, managing director of X-on, said: "The nation is embarking on the largest vaccination programme for a generation, presenting significant challenges and pressures for every specialty within medical care.
"Our contact system has been designed based on our close work with GPs and the primary care sector so that it works to the advantage of those at the heart of organising the community vaccination programmes. Our approach also provides flexibility so in the event of high demand and call volume at one practice, another practice within the local network can take the call and manage the process."
The development of a softphone version of Surgery Connect, which provides sophisticated cloud-based appointment and consultation systems to help manage the COVID-19 vaccination programme, is the latest enhancement to X-on’s support for primary care.
Last year it announced that it was developing a new softphone app that would mean patient calls to their GP are free and in turn reduce the cost to GPs and practices for outgoing calls by around 75%. The app is due for roll out in February 2021.
Following this, X-on developed its GP@Home service at the start of the pandemic, enabling doctors to provide patients with the same level of phone and video care from their own home as they would from their surgery. It also developed technology for GPs to switch from phone to video consultation in a single click.
About X-onX-on is a pioneer of cloud telephony, and was named as the UK Technology/ Digital Solution Provider of the Year in the 2019 General Practice Awards for its Surgery Connect product. In 2020 we won the Best VoIP Software and Best VoIP Vertical Solution categories in the Internet Telephony Services Providers’ Association (ITSPA) awards. With over 20 years' experience, we have worked with thousands of customers across many industries to deliver simple communications choices to benefit their business. We work with healthcare professionals to provide cost-effective communications systems such as Surgery Connect, which is tailored to their needs, and allows them to spend time and money on what matters most - patients.