HanPhone:Case Study ─ Hospital Authority

 
HanPhone IVR Helps Hospital Authority Reduce Outpatient Service Waiting Time
Background
Chronic long waiting time in Hospital Authority's general outpatient clinics has been one highly publicized grievance aired by Hong Kong citizens. Some elderly complains having to arrive at the clinics as early as 4:00am in order to secure an appointment in the morning schedule. Hospital Authority vowed in 2005 to draw up measures in combating the problem. One measure considered is to introduce a central telephone booking system which allows citizens to search for the time slots available from the nearest clinic and make the reservation in advance.
 

Solution
As this would be a brand new application, Hospital Authority would like to test-run the system before a full scale launch covering the whole territory. A pilot Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system was put up for bidding in September 2005 requiring stringent system functionalities, industry standard compliant and extensible technology to be delivered and launched in less than 8 week's time for clinics in Hong Kong Island. Among bids of many international and local IVR solutions, HanPhone IVR system was selected to supply 100 telephone and fax lines for the pilot project covering the clinics in Hong Kong Island. The pilot system was awarded in October, completed in time for the launch by year end. It allows callers using Hong Kong ID card number to reserve time slots announced by the system 24 hours in advance and confirmation can be made to the callers' fax number.

In fact, the system is the first service ever offered by Hospital Authority to allow patients make reservation by themselves, a job usually handled by a clinic staff vis-à-vis patient. The service has been proven to be most popular among patients, thus expediting the Hospital Authority's decision of extending the booking system to cover also the Kowloon clinics. The complete territory wide service was deployed in November 2006 comprising of 492 telephone lines serving 62 outpatient clinics. The automatic telephone booking system is now one of the largest IVR systems in Hong Kong.

Technology wise, HanPhone IVR uses ASP program to connect to the MS-SQL booking record database with the call flow logic programmed in HTML and XML. Fax server function is also integrated into the system for fax confirmation of scheduled booking.

HanPhone IVR is an award winning, innovative web-based voice application platform for the design and creation of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Its unique web-based development environment makes creation and maintenance of IVR system as easy as developing a website and allows telephone users accessing real-time information from the web. Furthermore, the web-based management interface allows users to control the IVR system easily anywhere from an Internet connected PC. And best of all, common webpage editing tools can be used to edit the procedure and content of the IVR system so as to fit the organization's specific purposes.

 
Benefits

HanPhone IVR brings to Hong Kong citizens an easy to use and convenient telephone booking system for outpatient appointment in the clinics under the management of Hospital Authority. No longer are patients required to wait for a long time just for making an appointment.

By introducing the new service, Hospital Authority has resolved one long plaguing problem to the chagrin of their customers (the patients). The HanPhone IVR system not only helps Hospital Authority drastically improve customer service but also save substantially clerical manpower in handling bookings. The technology platform also provides an easily scalable environment for future expansion and its open system architecture ensures future technology compatibility at reasonable cost of ownership.

 
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