Northern Devon Healthcare Trust introduces electronic telephone answering service to ensure the public can get through to NDDH switchboard at all times
From 10 January 2008, telephone callers to North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) switchboard may be answered by an electronic operator at busy times to ensure that all callers receive attention. NDDH receives approximately 2000 calls per day and sometimes these calls cannot all be answered promptly by the reception team. The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has introduced call answering software, called Contact Portal to ensure that all calls are answered either by reception within one minute, or by Contact Portal, after one minute.
On connecting to Contact Portal, callers will be asked to say the name or department they wish to speak to and the call will be automatically connected. This service will only be used at busy times and the vast majority of callers will continue to be answered by a member of the reception staff.
The system is extremely sophisticated and will recognise most words. However, callers may find the following tips useful if they find they are diverted to the electronic answering service:
– speak clearly
– the caller will be given two opportunities to connect electronically before being diverted to the reception staff
– try to minimise background noise when calling
The Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, which runs NDDH, introduced Contact Portal for all internal calls in October 2007. The introduction saw an immediate decrease in the number of internal calls to the switchboard suggesting that staff are successfully getting through to other members of staff across the hospital, without having to rely on paper directories. The new service is monitored and there is an ongoing process to make improvements.
Tricia Hawson, Facilities Manager, Northern Devon Healthcare Trust said, “We introduced this system to ensure that we offer a good service to people telephoning the hospital switchboard. Monday mornings are the busiest times for reception staff and we appreciate that in the past some callers may have had to wait a long time to get a reply. This system will support reception staff when the volume of calls exceeds their capacity to answer.”