Support Matters

balsall_commonBased on an interview of Joanne Hope, Practice Manager at The Balsall Common and Meriden Group Practice.

I don’t know about you, but one thing that drives me nuts is calling a Support helpdesk, being promised a fix and ending up ordering the fix from Santa for Christmas because nothing ever happened. When it’s about my home Internet access, I can get over it – after a few days of huffing and puffing, sure, but I can. When it’s a technical issue delaying healthcare delivered to 30,000 patients however, I’m afraid it’s harder to forgive.

Defining Unacceptable Support

That’s what happened to The Balsall Common and Meriden Group Practice earlier this year; I found out after speaking to Joanne Hope, Practice Manager for the group. The surgeries had been using a digital dictation system (let’s call it “White Elephant”) for a number of years, which was a bit slow in delivering voice files and provided relatively poor sound quality, but managed to do the job. Until White Elephant Version 3 came out and all customers were kindly “invited” to upgrade.

Suddenly the Meriden surgery wasn’t able to communicate with the main surgery anymore, so Joanne picked up the phone: “The Support person I talked to kept making promises, but none of them were kept. They didn’t seem to realise that for a practice, an issue with a dictation system means delays in patient receiving healthcare. And that, we cannot accept.”

From White Elephant to Crescendo

The impact on patient care was such that Joanne decided to act – fast: “I chose to step over their incompetence and contact another supplier that everyone in the Solihull CCG was talking about: Crescendo. Even if that meant taking another cost on board.”

To support Joanne financially in this critical move, Crescendo offered to honour the existing support contract the group practice had with White Elephant. After a successful trial with Crescendo, The Balsall Common and Meriden Group Practice had regained what they were so desperately lacking until then: confidence in their digital dictation system. “I must be able to trust the systems I use as much as the people who support them. If not, the entire team will suffer. And so will the patients. So no thank you.”

Indeed. With the 2018 paperless horizon and the increasing number of health IT systems expected to communicate with each other smoothly, modern-day practices rely on infrastructures that are anything but simple. So it’s only fair that suppliers bring serious technical expertise onboard with their systems. And before we put this itchy subject behind us, Joanne chose her words carefully and added: “Having a supplier that develops their software on their own and can’t fix issues as they arise at the customer’s site, that’s not just useless, it is harmful. And so far, what I can say of the digital dictation realm is that the quality of the Technical Support provided by Crescendo is a lot superior to that of their competitors.”

Does that mean there were no glitches upon roll-out? “Of course not,” again according to Joanne: “no new system comes without glitches. The difference is that Crescendo did put true experts on the case who did more than make promises: they delivered and fixed the issues right away.”

From Better Support to Better Product

OK, so I get the picture: the Balsall Common and Meriden Group Practice switched suppliers because better support was required, which is exactly what they received from Crescendo. But what Joanne didn’t expect was to find the product to be superior too. “Files used to be copied around the network, which seriously slowed things down. Now, with Crescendo, everything flies, and I am told this is due to their unique voice-on-demand technology. So I am NOW confident that when a doctor dictates an urgent letter, it WILL be typed right away.”

But what do secretaries and doctors think about the switch? Well, it seems that nostalgia is out of the window. “And it’s not just because of the integration with SystmOne”, Joanne insists. “Secretaries are able to prioritise their workload better because the system gives them more useful information. What’s more, they are always sure they have the correct patient for the referral as the SystmOne integration takes them directly to the patient when they launch a dictation – which also saves them time. Last but not least, they can enjoy what they’d been asking for since day one: top-notch sound quality – so every single word dictated is clearly understood.”

Doctors, on their hand, appreciate the simplicity and ease of use. A couple of clicks on the microphone and they are ready to dictate, without having to waste time typing patient details as these are automatically taken from SystmOne. “They also love the drop-down feature that allows them to categorize workload (i.e.: select a speciality like Cardiology and automatically prioritise work based on selections like “All 2 Week Waits” priority 1).”

Next step for Joanne? Start using the Referral Reporting Module, which is yet another feature that only Crescendo is able to offer. “I love the fact that my dictation system can also do all the work for me when it comes to analyzing referral patterns within my practice and providing information to my CCG and locality group. Call it what you want, I call it the icing on the cake.”

Cheers from the West Midlands,

The Equalizer

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CRESCENDO SYSTEMS LIMITED - Unit 1, Fiveways Business Centre, Feltham, TW13 7AQ - UNITED KINGDOM
Tel: +44(0) 1932 789433 -

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