Healthcare call volumes blog

How can the healthcare sector better manage call volumes?

The sheer number of calls that doctor’s surgeries face on a daily basis is the greatest challenge that teams in the healthcare sector face. The situation surrounding Covid 19 has only made call volumes increase. Many appointments and procedures were postponed due to Covid, and now the backlog must be worked through. At RHM we can help.

We know that this is not a simple issue. As call volumes fluctuate depending on the time of day or year, it is not simply a matter of assigning more staff to the phones. There needs to be a process put in place to make sure everyone is heard, or at least kept informed. This requires a combination of technology and helpful working practices that we will discuss today.

Managing your call queue


It is vital to offer callers the right support once they reach your team, but it can be just as important to provide a good experience while they wait. This is why we prioritise setting up surgeries with an effective queuing solution.

With a call queueing solution everyone is kept better informed. You can easily programme a call limit on your system, so if 40 people are waiting, the 41st will be met with an engaged tone, making the process more manageable. From here, those in the queue will be given their estimated wait time and they can decide whether to stay on the line. You can also add a programmable auto-attendant that can provide patients in the queue with answers to some frequently asked questions. This could potentially reduce the queue before your team even have to pick up the phone.

The numbers in the queue can be easily viewed by staff to ensure that nobody is missed. All numbers can be logged allowing for easy follow ups. Our call management service integrates alongside clinical systems such as EMIS and TPP SystmOne. These systems work in tandem with your communications to unlock a variety of benefits to productivity and customer satisfaction. Access the information you need faster and understand patient’s requirements as soon as they reach your team.

Work efficiently and flexibly


Working remotely is now a necessity rather than a perk for many staff. It is vital that these users can connect just as easily to your phone system as those working elsewhere. Our communication services feature intelligent call routing that can help bridge the gap.

When a call is dialled to a specific extension in your surgery, call routing can direct it automatically to another device should that user be working elsewhere. This can be a deskphone or even a mobile. The process is seamless, and the caller will not see the remote worker’s personal number, only their standard practice number. This allows callers to reach the medical specialist that knows them best, even in a more flexible working environment.

We also understand the value of working alongside other practices to stop teams from being overwhelmed. Our call routing services can be directed to another, less busy, practice in your area, allowing callers to be seen quicker. We can also provide patients the option to self-service. This directs them to an absence line where they can leave a message to be responded to later.

Improve your service moving forward


In any working environment there are always processes that can be improved. Without the right technology in place it can be difficult to know what to focus on. We offer solutions that allow you to gain a better understanding of your network.

Our communication packages can be equipped with cloud call recording. This service allows you to unobtrusively record calls on every step of your call process. All of these recordings are subtle and GDPR compliant, and provide great opportunities. You can record a clip of your most experienced staff to use as a reference point for new hires, or work alongside struggling staff to find areas for improvement.

You can also better demonstrate accountability through call reporting. This service gives phone-based staff as well as managers a clear view of your network through live wallboards. These can be installed on any screen in your practice and allow you to make sure that no callers slip through the cracks. Historical reports are included as well, and can be emailed directly to managers, prioritising the stats that matter most. These reports allow you to easily see which teams are performing well and which have room to improve.

We hope that this guide has helped to inform you about the services that are now available to healthcare teams. Whether you are looking to clear the backlog, deal with the day-to-day call queue, or add some efficiency to your operation, we can help.

If you’d like to find out more about what we do here at RHM you can reach us at 0800 041 041 or send an email to

Need more information or advice? Call us now 0345 136 60 60

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