A complete overhaul of the patient booking system is now ensuring over 95% of calls are answered within three minutes.
Stephen Eames, the Chief Executive of The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, has personally led a programme of work to resolve long standing problems with the way hospital outpatient appointments are organised and a complete rethink of the call centre operation has been undertaken to improve patient satisfaction.
The work included:
- Recruiting additional call centre staff
- Developing a multi skilled team who can support any peak demands within the call centre.
- Revising all administration processes to ensure all necessary information is passed on to staff making the patient bookings
- The introduction of rigorous call monitoring and quality checks to ensure the highest quality patient experience
- Introduction of ‘QueueBuster’ software to offer a free call back service to patients at busy times
- Weekly performance reports and targets
- Working closely with Healthwatch to ensure continuing improvements.
The overhaul was necessary following problems in autumn last year; a new patient administration system went live in September 2013 which presented a number of operational issues, one of which was that a large number of patients received duplicate appointment letters. Around the same time there was a five week period when appointment letters were not distributed by an external supplier, all of these factors resulted in the call centre receiving almost triple the number of calls received daily and the call centre was unable to cope with this high volume.
Stephen Eames said: “I’m glad to say the problems with the booking system are now firmly behind us and patients can expect only the highest quality of service from now on.”
Other measures implemented as part of a far reaching programme of improvements to the outpatients and patient booking system included the implementation of a competency framework for clinical and administrative staff and accompanying standard operating procedures.
Appointment letter content was reviewed in collaboration with patient representatives and the systems for letter production were reviewed and amended to stop multiple letters being generated for the same referral.
Neil Clark, Director of Operations, Emergency and Elective Services, said: “The Outpatient Team have worked hard to fully review every aspect of our call centre operation and we’re now working towards offering one of the best services of any Trust in the country with average call response time under one minute.”