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Mobile: Medicals Direct Group


Stanmore-based Medicals Direct Group has been trading for over a decade and has established itself as the pre eminent provider of outsourced risk management and medical services solutions for insurers, employers and individuals.

To support the insurance industry, Medicals Direct provides a comprehensive range of outsourced underwriting, medical evidence and rehabilitation services delivered through its nationwide network of experts. Medicals Direct also operates its own wholly owned clinic network providing regulatory medicals, primary care and occupational health services.

The company has a reputation for recognising changes in the marketplace and reacting swiftly - a quality they value in a supplier too. When it came to reviewing their working practices regarding its nurse screening business, the company’s initial driver was to provide better service to their clients, but without this implicating on costs. Their need to speed up a lengthy administration procedure between their clients, themselves and customers, which involved sending forms through the post and manual input of data, led them to explore an innovative yet practical solution.

Steven Watson, Head of IT and Facilities at Medicals Direct explains: ‘Initially we looked at Tablet PCs to expedite data input, but this involved high capital costs, significant training and support challenges. The implementation of the Bluetooth Digital Pen and Paper solution from PaperIQ, which transfers handwriting via bespoke forms, became a natural choice, as our staff were accustomed to completing forms. Having weighed up mobile and BlackBerry options, through Total, we opted for the latter.’

‘The solution replicated our procedures and dispelled the concerns we had with other products. Training proved to be solely around the BlackBerry handheld and the transmission of the form data. All we needed to do then was produce a user guide and have a short training session on the phone with individuals. In fact, following a brief trial, we were able to roll out the solution to up to ten nurses a day.’

Now, nearly three years on Steven feels the difference implementing the solution, along with BlackBerry has been huge. It works exactly as intended and in fact, using smartphones rather than mobiles has enabled Medicals Direct to obtain a number of benefits not initially envisaged.

Steven says: ‘The use of email is hugely advantageous - instructions no longer need to be posted, as everything can be done electronically. As a result timescales have been cut right down. Now when a report arrives back it is automatically uploaded on to our secure website for the insurance client to download – in fact, we have managed to turn one enquiry round in a day, from first instruction to the report being filed! In addition, many of our nurses are able to undertake more appointments due to the reduction in administration time.’

‘Going on from this, data input has also improved as the system is automated and by building validation into the forms further time is saved. Previously, if an incomplete form was returned, it would be picked up by Quality Assurance and the nurse would then have to re-appoint to complete the missing questions with the customer.’

‘Now, when the form is emailed back, the nurse will receive a validation email confirming it is correct or flagging any errors or omissions. These can then be remedied whilst still at the customers’ premises and the form resubmitted, there and then.’

From Steven’s point of view, one of the other advantages of choosing BlackBerry over mobiles involves the company’s need to apply due diligence. Security of data is key with their clients and security through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server as well as data encryption standards negates this issue.

Along with these primary benefits the company has also been able build a WAP site for their nurses to use for reporting, administration and to record KPIs. The site is accessible via BlackBerry, which means much less internal processing is required. Clients also benefit from easier integration too and now by using automated systems the reports can be downloaded via the web or Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).

Medicals Direct feel that there are certainly other related opportunities provided by the solution, such as the ability to extract data from the forms stored on the server, which would allow for permission based marketing of relevant additional services, for example well man and well woman reports.

With respect to general account management the company finds YourView, Total’s online billing facility, very beneficial and have moved their landlines over to Total too. Steven says: ‘We wanted just one telecoms partner and YourView is an excellent tool, as management data is easily obtained. It is especially good for managing the nurses' spend. If anything is abnormally high, I am able to look at a nurse’s instructions that month, to consider if there are any issues. Cost Centering takes this one stage further too, as it facilitates interdepartmental billing.’

Looking to the future, as technology within the medical sector advances, Medicals Direct is looking at more innovative solutions to enhance their procedures through integration of other equipment via Bluetooth and BlackBerry, thus improving the experience for both client and customer alike.

Steven feels their technological foresight gives them an undoubted edge over their competitors and in Total they have found a telecoms supplier that can match their desire to offer the best service and adapt to the needs of their clients.

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