Harley Street Health Centre is a private primary care and GP service based in central London. For nearly 23 years, the team at the centre, including Managing Director Alya Shakir, has worked tirelessly to establish and grow a practice offering convenient medical testing, consultations and healthcare screening to over 135,000 registered patients.
With the arrival of the pandemic in 2020, businesses everywhere had to adapt fast. Right from the start of the pandemic, Alya realised they would have to adapt the way they ran the practice to be able to continue providing their high quality service. “The pandemic has changed everything for everyone. Anyone running a business has had to look radically at how they do things,” says Alya. As one of the only private clinics to remain open during the first UK lockdown, the team put a huge focus on making sure they were doing everything in their power to reduce unnecessary contact and the risk of transmission.
The sudden and dramatic changes thrown up by the pandemic really highlighted what was working in the practice - and what wasn’t. The practice’s existing technology was slow, and caused patients and staff to clog up the reception area while they waited for payments to go through. “The payment system we had previously was both unwieldy and time-consuming and also required excessive contact between team members and patients,” explains Alya.
In addition to the health concerns of having staff and patients coming into close contact, the practice was also incurring significant extra costs as it put in place measures to keep everyone safe and reduce the risk of transmission. There were lengthy settlement times before the practice saw the money, so overall it was making it difficult for the team to have a clear picture of what was going on in a fast-moving situation.
With the goals of maximum safety for team members and patients, as well as reliability and visibility on how their business was doing, Alya started the search for a new point of sale provider: “We were super busy supporting our patients so we needed absolute reliability and we needed speed. As a business, our expenses shot up hugely to stay open safely, so we also wanted excellent financial visibility and reporting.” After exploring the options available, the Harley Street Health Centre moved over their payments and point of sale to Square in 2020. “Square provided all of the function we needed, excellent customer service, speed and ease of use and great reporting. They’re also great value for money,” explains Alya.
The practice now uses Square Terminal to take payments from customers, and this has dramatically reduced the time it takes to collect payment for an appointment. The impact has been impressive: “The time spent taking payments was reduced by 75% and allowed us to look after 200 patients a day without a glitch.”
Along with in-person payments, the health centre is also making use of other features such as virtual terminal, allowing the team to take payments remotely, either online or over the phone, further reducing the time that patients have to remain inside the centre and therefore the risk of contact.
As restrictions are eased in the UK and the whole team looks forward to what comes next, Alya is determined to take the lessons learnt during a turbulent period and use them to continue innovating at the health centre. “The lesson this year was to continue to strive for technological improvements and process improvements, even if the system we have is doing an OK job. Overall, we have grown our team, expanded our services and become even better at listening to our patients and responding to their needs.” As well as treatments and services related to coronavirus and the effects of long-haul COVID 19, the practice is also branching out into new areas and extending others, with a particular focus on women’s health: “We are female-led, after all!”
Throughout the change, Square has helped Alya and the team implement the solutions the business needs to be able to support patients safely and effectively. “Square have been a reliable partner, providing an excellent service when we needed it the most. They are helpful when we’ve needed them and easy to get hold of.”
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Learn more about Harley Street Health Centre