Assura helped make it possible for clients, especially younger people, to access Family Planning services through their new centralised call centre..
To centralise calls from all clinics throughout New Zealand, Family Planning and Assura worked together on several operational challenges – including finding a system that would seamlessly integrate the phone and intranet, track the outcome of each call to make sure appointment requests were not lost, and measure service levels.
Given the nature of Family Planning’s work, the information and skills required to effectively handle appointments is extensive. Call centre managers require knowledge of staff capabilities and availability within each clinic throughout New Zealand.
The full range of procedures available, how and when to access them, plus the sensitivity to deal appropriately with callers about intimate personal issues is also essential. Specialist Family Planning staff operate the client contact centre, including a duty nurse.
Keen to leverage the experience of other organisations who have undertaken similar projects, Family Planning Information Services Manager Simon Crumption and his team made research visits to other health sector call centres. He particularly wanted a system that was flexible, easy to configure, and had the capability to be extended to meet the future strategic needs of Family Planning.
Assura supported staff in capturing and standardising information and procedures from all of the clinics. Until then, the clinics had operated independently and appointment specifications could vary significantly from one clinic to another.
Once captured and standardised, Assura then put in place a system that could present the correct information to staff when handling calls, including the competencies and available locations of staff throughout the country. This information was crucial to swift and effective appointment making. The new system also had to integrate with the existing ShoreTel phone system, as well as track the outcome of each call to measure service levels.
After a staff competition, Family Planning nicknamed the new system ARTI. It was delivered on time and under budget, and staff were impressed with its clean interface and ease of use.
Family Planning Chief Executive Jackie Edmond said ARTI played a key role in meeting the organisation’s strategic goals.
“ARTI makes it easier for us to ensure that clients get the appointment they need with the appropriate staff,” says Jackie.
“We also were able to trial new options and next steps in the strategic plan such as phone consultations. This is all part of what we are trying to achieve with this broader future proofing project.”
Family Planning Information Services Manager Simon Crumption said Assura were particularly good communicators, avoiding ‘geek speak”, emphasising transparency at every stage of the project and most importantly, the organisation’s ability to always deliver.
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