Moneypenny is offering a free fully automated digital switchboard service for all NHS operations, says Stephanie Vaughan-Jones
One of the most critical ways that we can protect our NHS and keep vital services and buildings operational during a time of national crisis, is to make it easy for people to stay away and observe the social distancing rules. That means having the right communications infrastructure in place to deal with a dramatic influx of calls and enquiries from families of patients, to other service providers, staff, visitors and volunteers.
Prior to covid-19, we knew that call handling was an area of growing concern for NHS trusts and hospitals, particularly as our research showed that hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers were receiving 32 per cent more calls than five years ago. Almost half (45 per cent) wanted the reassurance of talking to a person, followed by 40 per cent who were looking for urgent response to their enquiries.
In a time of unprecedented change like this, these figures will be even higher as people reach out for support, advice and guidance in droves. As demand for the 111 service has shown in recent weeks, people feel panicked and are using the phone to seek reassurance from professionals.
This service will be particularly valuable to NHS trusts where it’s no longer safe for reception and admin teams to be hospital office based or they do not have the technology to manage the switchboard remotely
While hospitals and other healthcare providers might be able to divert some calls, a shift in working patterns coupled with stretched resource and heightened call volumes, is a recipe for disaster. Phones ringing out are a distraction for vital healthcare workers. Unanswered calls could result in people arriving at hospitals when they should really stay away.
With resource in limited supply, hospitals and other vital NHS providers need to be able to answer and field high volumes of calls efficiently, with minimal physical effort and input. This involves scaling-up their support services, including call handling and live chat, and requires suppliers who can respond quickly to make that happen. Answering calls, queries and chats in a timely and professional manner helps to ensure that on-site resources are used where they’re needed most; not answering the phone. It’s because of this that Moneypenny is offering a free digital switchboard service for all NHS operations.
A fully automated digital switchboard operates like a traditional switchboard but without the need for a receptionist as it is powered by AI and lives in the cloud. This service will be particularly valuable to NHS trusts where it’s no longer safe for reception and admin teams to be hospital office based or they do not have the technology to manage the switchboard remotely. Using natural language speech recognition, digital switchboards enable callers to ‘self-serve’ with impressive accuracy levels. In the unusual event that the system doesn’t recognise a voice query, or an enquiry is more complex, the caller will be transferred to a failover option or a real person.
The sentiments that have united Great Britain over recent weeks have been ‘save our NHS’ and ‘we’re in it together’. The power of these words is palpable, particularly as the public and private sectors unite to keep people safe, find innovative solutions to new challenges and tackle this crisis head on. We need all available resources to be on the front line. Let us do our bit and answer the phone.
Click to find out more about Moneypenny’s free digital switchboard offer visit or call 0333 202 1005.