THE PRACTICE GROUP CASE STUDY

Contracted by the NHS, The Practice Group runs a fast-expanding community-based healthcare service, delivering clinical services to GPs, Primary Care Trusts and other healthcare commissioners. It operates 60 surgeries and walk-in centres nationwide as well as numerous specialist clinics and has over 180,000 patients. When it needed a scalable infrastructure to support its strategy for rapid growth it chose Redcentric.

The Practice Group - Improved patient management and care icon

Improved patient management and care

The Practice Group - Delivered scalability to support growth icon

Delivered scalability to support growth

The Practice Group - Assured compliance and best practice icon

Assured compliance and best practice

Challenges

Commitment to the highest standards in clinical care lies at the heart of The Practice Group’s strategy. In 2008, when it still had only a handful of surgeries, it already knew that a key criterion for its planned growth was to find a proactive IT partner that would allow it to concentrate on bringing clinical services out of hospital in order to treat patients closer to home.

The Practice Group wanted GPs, surgery staff and the business team to be able to spend their time delivering an efficient service, not having their primary focus clouded by having to manage a fully fledged IT department. So a technically solid, well-proven hosted solution with fast support services was imperative.

Howard Gooder, Commercial Director at The Practice Group, says, “We wanted a hosted solution that was efficient, robust and reliable. The last thing we need is the telephone system to go down first thing on a Monday morning just when patients who’ve been holding out over the weekend start calling.”

In choosing a technology partner, the three key criteria for The Practice Group were:

  • Experience in working with the healthcare sector within the NHS environment, integrating with N3, the national network for the NHS
  • Ability to converge voice and data communications onto a single pipe for The Practice Group’s surgeries and walk-in centres
  • A truly scalable solution that would provide a flexible resilient infrastructure and support The Practice’s aggressive strategy for growth.
Of all the many benefits we’ve seen, the overarching one is the scalability and ease of growth that Redcentric has given and continues to give us. Without that scalability, we’d have no growth.

How Redcentric helped

Having considered several potential providers, and impressed by both its healthcare experience and the proven reliability and scalability of its services, The Practice Group chose Redcentric. As The Practice Group has expanded, rapidly taking on new surgeries and walk-in centres, its partnership with Redcentric has grown with it and it now benefits from a wide range of Redcentric’s services:

  • A secure network that allows voice and data to be converged onto the same pipe and that provides separate secure links to the NHS’s N3 network
  • Broadband Internet access
  • Hosted data management services and hosted data backup for all its surgeries from Redcentric’s data centres
  • A range of Unified Communications services including IP telephony (VoIP) services, Hosted Exchange for its email and Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS).

In 2011, it rolled out Unity Call Recording across all its 60 surgeries and walk-in centres, to provide server-side call recording of over 1,000 calls a day.

Unity Call Recording is just the latest service that we’ve taken from Redcentric to improve our efficiency and the level of care we can give our patients.

Business benefits

Howard Gooder says, “Of all the many benefits we’ve seen, the overarching one is the scalability and ease of growth that Redcentric has given and continues to give us. With no scale there’s no growth.” Other benefits to The Practice Group include:

Enhanced service to patients – Although implemented for reasons of compliance and best practice, the centralised operation of Unity Call Recording has brought significant benefits, enabling network-based activity that simply couldn’t be done with a traditional telephone system.

Howard Gooder says, “The Redcentric development team were extremely supportive in helping us create useful reports from the call recording system such as how many patients were hanging up without having their calls answered.” As a result of the information gleaned, The Practice Group has taken remedial action, rerouting calls to a Patient Contact Centre which answers as the appropriate surgery and books patients’ appointments.

Business efficiencies – With Redcentric handling most of the back-end IT operations, The Practice Group can concentrate on business development and customer service, not managing its IT – its desktop support, team consists of just two people supporting 60 locations.

Cost savings – In addition to freeing up time, there are also significant cost savings and Howard Gooder says, “As the number of surgeries began to grow, economies of scale also came into play – as we had known and planned for.”

Fast, streamlined communication – Redcentric’s high-availability network, carrying both voice and data, together with its Unified Communications service enables rapid communication between locations and has helped improve patient management and care.

Easy partnership – Howard Gooder says, “What I’ve particularly liked is that Redcentric shares our view of this as a ‘partnership’. I can speak to everyone in the company – a named account manager, technical engineers, even the Board and the CEO.”

The future

The Practice Group sees it as important that the relationship with Redcentric continues to flourish. Howard Gooder says, “This has been a success story on both sides – we’ve been able to make suggestions about the services, and Redcentric’s expertise and support has helped us grow the business. We definitely look forward to this continuing.”.

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