Automated solution for call handling and appointment scheduling at UK private medical company

Challenge

Doctorcall is a private medical company with clinics across London and Manchester. Founded in 1989, it was the first private medical company in London to provide appointments in the comfort of the patient’s own home. Since then, the company has expanded to partner with hotels and insurance companies to provide medical care to guests and tourists respectively.

In 2017 Doctorcall approached Haulmont to develop a solution to manage inbound calls and appointment scheduling.The process of booking a home visit from a doctor was difficult to manage; a patient first had to contact the call centre to request a home visit, the operator would then search for a suitable doctor with availability and return the patient’s call to book the appointment. Searching for a suitable doctor required the operator to know the approximate location of the doctors on shift (i.e. close to their previous/current appointment, near their hospital) and cross-reference this information against a map to decide who would be best to assign to the new appointment.

Occasionally, the operator would also need to re-arrange appointments throughout the day to ensure SLAs in place with third-party businesses such as hotels and insurance companies would be met, whilst accommodating ad hoc appointments. This process was hugely inefficient and provided a poor level of customer care.

Solution

Haulmont developed and delivered a custom solution within a few months. The solution was designed to automate as much of the call handling process as possible, expedite the time taken to schedule an appointment and provide improved customer service.

  • The custom solution offers two options to book a doctor’s visit; patients can book via the call centre with the operator logging the details via a custom booking screen, or the patient can book direct on Doctorcall’s website. The solution manages requests by priority to automatically schedule the most suitable doctor for each appointment.

    Doctorcall can provide much more accurate appointment times to patients as the system uses real-time data from Google Maps to provide up-to-date ETAs which take traffic and road closures into consideration.

    The cost is automatically calculated based on the patient’s address, time of day and service required.

    The patient receives the appointment information in real-time either on the phone from the operator or via the website before confirming the appointment.

    The operator can manually intervene if required, using the system’s interactive map which displays doctors on duty and their availability in a visual way to make it easier to make a decision about the most suitable doctor for any given job.

    As part of the solution, Haulmont developed a mobile app, compatible with both iOS and Android, which doctors use to complete patient notes following a consultation including a medical report and payment information. The app is fully integrated with the wider system so that the operators in the office can see any updates provided. The doctor can also request any additional services the patient requires and see a schedule of their appointments for the entire day.

  • Working with partner clinics

    As part of Doctorcall’s contracts with various insurance companies and hotels, the business must provide services to users outside of London and Manchester where its own medical clinics are based. Haulmont developed an automated process within Doctorcall’s solution which searches for a suitable partner clinic in the required location and sub-contracts the appointment appropriately.

  • Patient app

    In 2019 Doctorcall launched a smartphone app for patients as an alternative method for booking a consultation. The user creates a profile and can make a request for a home visit as required; there is an option to request a doctor as soon as possible or schedule a specific date and time. The user provides their address and symptoms, and the cost and waiting time (if applicable) is calculated. Payment is also taken through the iOS and Android app.

Results

Doctorcall has significantly improved the speed and quality of its service through Haulmont’s custom solution.

Appointments can be scheduled during the initial call from the patient rather than several calls between patient, operator and doctor. As much of the booking process has been automated, there are now less touch points for human error, for example, the operator will not calculate waiting time incorrectly as the system does this, taking real-time traffic into consideration.

The business can make more informed decisions and plan more accurately thanks to its custom solution from Haulmont. Using historical data stored within the system, management can assess the busiest times and days of the week and ensure that more doctors are scheduled to cover the peak hours. The business has also been able to assess distance to visits and the effect of this on profitability to make more informed decisions regarding pricing structure.

The system is configurable which means that Doctorcall can respond quickly to changing events; in Spring 2020, the company began offering Covid-19 tests and this option was made available online and through the app with immediate effect.

The business plans to develop consultation services via video link and this service will be offered to patients via the mobile app.