Three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across Worcestershire are rolling out cloud-based telephone services across the region’s GP surgeries.

South Worcestershire, Redditch and Bromsgrove and Wyre Forest CCGs are installing the Surgery Connect system, which allows GPs and other healthcare staff to contact patients via a mobile app.

The cloud-based system allows GPs to carry out consultations over the phone, with the next steps being video consultations.

Surgery Connect, which is powered by X-on, also allows practice staff to see a patient’s record when they come through on the phone, meanwhile calls can be recorded and associated with the patient record, to help GPs better understand a patient’s needs.

It also allows calls to be answered in order or priority.

It is hoped the innovation will help the region achieve its digital plans, as described in its Local Digital Roadmap (LDR), and help deliver more efficient, effective integrated health and care outlined in its Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) plans.

James Harley, primary care IT lead for the CCGs, said “joined up telephony” is one of the priorities for the LDR.

He added: “We saw that lots of GP practices were paying too much for their phone systems, which were often antiquated and did not have the functionality required to support new ways of working.

“With Surgery Connect, we saw that the system had been designed with GP input, and built to meet the needs of practices.”

The CCGs have used Estates and Technology Transformation Funding (ETTF) to support the rollout of the services, which is being led by the Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (CSU), though the total amount of funding required has not been revealed.

The CCGS are looking to start initial implementation in the summer with 16 practices, expanding to a total of 64 practices and 13 branch sites as old phone contracts expire.

In June 2018, Digital Health News reported on the launch of a ‘Snapchat-style’ photo sharing device for doctors by Consultant Connect.

In May, a federation of GPs in Lewisham signed a deal to launch a virtual assistant app for patients.