Innovate UK funds tech to reduce hidden costs of telephone calls in primary care

Innovate UK has awarded a six-figure grant to cloud telephony specialist X-on to support an app to help eliminate GP practice-patient call costs.
The app will mean calls between a patient and their GP are free and in turn reduce the cost to GP practices for outgoing calls by around 75%.
The app is available to the 700 GP practices that currently use X-on’s telephony Surgery Connect product, and is due to be available to all GP practices to adopt from February 2021.
Dr Dustyn Saint, a GP partner at the Long Stratton Medical Partnership, said: “We have noticed a big increase in telephone costs between 2019 and 2020. We’ve needed to purchase many additional lines as the move to telephone as the first point of contact left us with nowhere near enough to manage demand. This, and the volumes of calls we are now making, especially to mobile, have really pushed up costs.”
Under the initiative, patients’ call costs are eliminated when using the app, and for practice or GP calls to patients they are significantly reduced through a funding formula principally based on growth forecasts.
The company said: “The impact on the NHS from the cost of such calls is substantial, estimated at an annual £50 million, with more than 90% of GP calls going to a mobile. In addition many calls are being made from GP personal mobiles due to homeworking, causing a serious risk to information governance from patient data being visible on private devices and bills.”
Paul Bensley, managing director of X-on, said: “With the increase in telephone calls as a result, one seldom noted impact is the spiralling ‘hidden cost’ to GPs and practices in contacting patients, often when GPs are working from home. Our innovation offers a significant answer to the issue, almost completely removing the financial implications for practices as primary care continues to evolve, so that GPs can focus on providing high quality patient care.”
The post Innovate UK funds tech to reduce hidden costs of telephone calls in primary care appeared first on htn.

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