12 November 2019
Let Technology Aid Your Healthcare Organisation This Winter
Healthcare organisations have been busy administering flu vaccinations signalling the beginning of the winter months.
Pharmacies in Leeds piloted electronic notifications of flu vaccinations for GP practices. This pilot allows details of the flu vaccination to be automatically updated within the patient’s record, if the pharmacy is using PharmOutcomes and the GP practice is using SystmOne.
The aim of the pilot is to reduce time manually entering this information which would improve the accuracy of the data entered and avoid patients being unnecessarily contacted by the practice to validate the information.
It was expected that 800 messages would be sent between the systems over the two weeks. If successful, the service will be extended nationally to other pharmacies and GPs using the system.
Integrating Technology to Improve Services
This is just one idea that can really benefit healthcare organisations. Live chat for your website can streamline your communications with electronic messages whether manual or automatic can reduce representatives’ time and improve efficiency.
Healthcare organisations across the country including GPs, ophthalmologists, dentists, NHS trusts and private companies are implementing live chat software to improve services and communication with patients.
Live chat for your website can be used to answer frequently asked questions, ranging from opening times and locations to finding out how long it will be to receive test results. Patients can book appointments or gain advice, depending on how the healthcare organisation has implemented the chat service.
Supporting Resource Shortages
The instant communication channel enables representatives from the organisation to instantly speak with visitors simultaneously via text based messages, within a one-to-one environment. This allows fewer members of staff to handle more enquiries at any one time.
This is ideal for when your organisation is expected to be short staffed. Christmas is a prime example of this with many establishments closing or operating with restricted hours over the festive period, and many employees having booked annual leave.
To cover the chat channel, your organisation may have staff who rarely access the solution for the day-to-day running, therefore when they are needed to handle chats they can simple log into the solution via their web browser. This is particularly useful for employees who work within a hot desk environment, as it isn’t guaranteed whether they would have the same machine 2 days in a row.
The browser can also be used for staff who occasionally work from home. However, this does depend on whether the user’s permissions permit them from logging into the software, as the system can be restricted to certain IP addresses only.
Supporting Patients When You’re Unavailable
When your agents are not logged in or available within the solution, the chat channel will default to offline. Your organisation has several options on what happens next.
- An offline form can be presented to gather visitor contact details. These are sent to a designated email address and can also be viewed within the solution, enabling your advisors to action the requests at a convenient time.
- The window presented could display useful information instead. This can contain important phone numbers or the organisation’s operational times. With restricted hours over Christmas, the window can easily be amended with change of times.
- Alternatively, the button can be hidden altogether. However, for a healthcare organisation we strongly suggest using option 2 if you don’t want to receive offline requests.
Something to Consider for Next Year
Live chat is the quickest and cost effective way of covering your operations over the Christmas period. However, something to muse over for next year to help with resourcing gaps is Artificial Intelligence.
Healthcare organisations can reduce staff involvement further by implementing a chatbot. There are different level of tasks that the bot can carry out.
The first is prequalification level. The chatbot will ask a series of questions to the visitor. In a healthcare setting the bot can ask for the patient’s name, date of birth, address, NHS number (if appropriate), plus any other details that is necessary for your organisation to collect.
These details can be passed straight over to an agent to continue the conversation, otherwise the bot can remain in control and start answering questions. This can either be frequently asked questions that it has learnt which can include what time your GP practice is open, where your organisation is located, or how to make an appointment etc.
More advanced implementations can see the chatbot providing advice and booking appointments with look up functionality. If the bot doesn’t have an answer, or the visitor asks to speak with a real person, the bot can transfer the chat at any point during the conversation.
A supervisor can also oversee the bot at any time and can take control of the enquiry should the need arise.
Having less operator involvement, means that during peak periods with staff shortages your organisation can continue providing online services to your patients.
For more information about how you can provide coverage for Christmas and all year round with live chat for your website, contact our team on 01268 524628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.