Cloud communications provider X-on has been crowned the Technology/ Digital Solution Provider of the Year at the General Practice Awards, the country’s foremost competition for those involved in primary care.
The award was in recognition of Surgery Connect, its advanced telephony solution that is used by around 500 UK GP surgeries across the UK to help them cope with the increasing demands of patient care.
The system is transforming patient and professional communication through technology that gives practices multiple phone lines and call-back functionality, so patients can avoid the “fastest finger lottery” when making an appointment with their family doctor.
The annual GP Awards are judged by individuals with decades of experience in primary care and are seen by some as the ‘Oscars’ for general practice. The awards celebrate the very best examples of success across primary care, recognising projects, individuals and teams who have gone above and beyond to improve healthcare provision in their area.
X-on was up against some well-established technology providers at the ceremony held on 29th November, having made the shortlist in part down to votes from members of the public.
X-on CEO Paul Bensley said: “We are proud to have won this prestigious award, which recognises the high quality and tremendous hard work over the years of our great team at X-on.
“It is a real privilege to work with the GP surgeries, federations and clinical commissioning groups that are the foundation of our NHS. With our modern, adaptable communication tools, we are helping them manage demand, and deliver a better patient experience. We look forward to working with practices for many years to come.”
Surgery Connect replaces outdated telephone systems with a cloud-based VOIP service that gives practices multiple phone lines and call-back functionality when making an appointment with their family doctor.
Surgery Connect helps patients cancel or rearrange appointments using their phone handset. This helps to reduce the administrative burden on staff, and the number of times patients do not attend (DNA) their appointments. Such DNAs cost the NHS more than £216m each year, according to NHS England.
The phone system is also helping family doctors achieve the NHS England policy of extending patient access. It provides a central contact centre for networks of practices so that patients can call outside of normal working hours to make appointments.
Surgery Connect is providing a platform for a more collaborative way of working between practices and other healthcare providers, as they look to form the new Primary Care Networks that have been set up under the NHS Long Term Plan. “It gives us a great opportunity for more joined-up working,” said Worcestershire CCG IT lead James Harley.
GPs also use Surgery Connect for telephone triage. Doctors can call patients using their preferred contact number and with their clinical details in front of them, saving time spent searching for patient information. Some practices are also trialling the use of video using the same phone handset, providing patients with more convenient ways to contact their surgery, in line with national moves to offer new forms of consultation.