What is IVR?

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated phone system. It can be customized to meet individual organizational needs. It is a technology that helps guide employees through an interactive menu to ensure they are reaching the department they need. The messages are pre-recorded and prompt employees to use their touch-tone keypad or speak up so that voice recognition can navigate them through a custom system. This ensures all of the employee’s information gets where it needs to go.

IVR is often used for calling in sick in the workplace. The easy to navigate system allows employees to submit their absence and rest assured that the information is getting to the right department. Another common use for IVR is in shift replacement. Employees can call into the system to find out what shifts are available and place bids immediately.

In organizations without IVR systems, an employee may call in and leave a voicemail on a manager’s line. What if the manager is away on vacation or out sick as well? How does the employee know their message is being heard and if required, their shift being filled? An IVR system removes uncertainty. The system exists to ensure information is passed to where it needs to be. It provides employees and employers with peace of mind. IVR intelligently routes incoming employee calls, ensuring their message gets to the right person or department. 

 

Quick Dial          quick dial

Quick Dial is an IVR system that directs incoming employee calls. It alleviates pain points in a scheduling department by automating and sorting incoming shift-related calls. Through Quick Dial, incoming calls are captured, organized, and filtered through configurable categories on a dashboard where department Managers and Scheduling Staff prioritize and process them.  Each call and corresponding action is logged and can be reviewed in a searchable audit trail. Quick Dial optimizes the way scheduling departments receive, direct and process incoming phone calls.

Andgo’s Quick Dial IVR system is also able to capture basic information about the caller. This allows for important information required by managers and schedulers to be collected. The system is completely customizable and easy to set up. It manages the filtering of incoming queries and frees up time for managers and schedulers, allowing them to focus on meaningful work.

Quick Dial can be expanded to other areas of operations where a large volume of incoming phone calls are received. Each call is automatically supplemented with additional information such as employee name, number, home department, and time of the call.  This eliminates transcription errors and data replication.  

Quick Dial processing follows the same workflows as the Smart Call and Automated Shift Bidding modules.  Incoming call categories, menu options, and voice messaging can be configured to unique organizational requirements. Also, Employees have the option to connect directly with Scheduling Staff.

 


Are you looking for a way to quickly and efficiently route incoming calls from staff regarding shifts and scheduling queries? Contact us to see how Andgo can help you save time, increase transparency, and improve staff morale with our smart absence management software.

Expansions for the Saskatchewan Health Authority

Building off their earlier expansion of Andgo services and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) was looking to expand the new provincial response site to include filling open shifts related to COVID-19. The pandemic hit in the middle of shifting from a regional technology system to a system that encompasses the entire province. In the weeks since COVID reached the province, Andgo has been working on expansions for the Saskatchewan Health Authority to enable their entire workforce and users to access unfilled shifts and schedule information related to COVID-19.

Expansions for the Saskatchewan Health Authority

The SHA requires a single site to manage and find placements for all COVID-19 related shifts for their entire workforce. This expansion includes providing online schedules related to COVID-19, and enabling all users to bid on open shifts online. This site is a response to COVID-19 shifts that need to be filled after the regions have attempted to fill them. They also need to accommodate filling shifts for physicians and volunteers.  

Increase in Users

The SHA has increased its users of Andgo’s software from 15,000 to 90,000 in a matter of weeks. The original scheduling database did not include physicians prior to this pandemic. It was discovered early on that this had to change, and Physicians had to be included in the process. A newer development is volunteers. Volunteers are needed due to the higher demand for health care workers due to COVID-19. Overall, Physicians and volunteers were added to the pool of provincial healthcare workers so they can mobilize their workforce to tackle the new high and in-demand needs to help in managing COVID-19.

Adding all physicians, volunteers, and the entire province-wide workforce increases the active users on the site to 90,000 in a given moment. This is a huge increase from the 15,000 users prior to COVID-19.

Visibility of open COVID-19 shifts

The SHA needs COVID related open shifts to be visible to their entire workforce. It’s important for all registered SHA users to be able to view and select all COVID related open shifts online. This new update will allow Scheduling Staff to upload the open shifts every five minutes for users to view and select. This enables them to stay on top of possible shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Viewing schedules for COVID-19 shifts

Another update to the system is enabling all users to see their schedules for COVID-19 related shifts. Schedules are often changing from day to day in the healthcare industry, especially during this pandemic. All users registered with the SHA, including, physicians and volunteers, will be able to view their up-to-date COVID-19 shifts online.


We’re here to help

Check out our COVID updates for information on how we can help you throughout this time.

Follow us on Twitter for more updates.

How Andgo responded to the toll-free challenges created by COVID

New challenges are coming up with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses have shifted to working remotely, and telephone and communication channels are being put to the test. Toll-free lines are opening up to the many public queries coming in due to the pandemic. Governments and Health Regions needed a way to effectively communicate with the public in an efficient way. Toll-free was the answer. All of these changes led to an increase in toll-free usage, which then resulted in crashes. Andgo was not left unaffected as some of our modules require the use of toll-free numbers. Below we’ve outlined how Andgo responded to the toll-free challenges created by COVID-19.

In the past couple of weeks, there has been an exponential increase in phone traffic due to COVID-19. Phone networks are seeing congestion that is causing toll-free numbers to have connection problems (i.e., sometimes you can’t reach them). This problem affects the public as well as our own business. Our Quick Dial module typically uses toll-free numbers for employees to call into when reporting an absence or trying to leave a message for scheduling teams. With the issues facing the phone networks, we had to come up with a solution so that Healthcare employees could continue to call in and the system could continue to run smoothly.

How Andgo responded to the toll-free challenges created by COVID

Andgo responded to the toll-free challenges by creating an online interface for employees to indicate their absence through any internet-connected device, in addition to the phone number. This provides consistent access for employees to report absences even when there are phone network problems. We were able to apply this fix in two days, which ensures healthcare providers are staffed with the right people at the right time.


We’re here to help

Check out our COVID updates for information on how we can help you throughout this time.

Follow us on Twitter for more updates.

Meaningful Work: What to do with the time savings from Andgo Smart Call?

Healthcare organizations using Andgo Smart Call find themselves with an abundance of Scheduling resources at their disposal. One partner previous to using Andgo Smart Call required 16 Scheduling Staff to fill the 300 unplanned absences that would occur within their organizations each day. After Andgo Smart Call was implemented, 4 Scheduling Staff were able to manage the workload of filling the 300 unplanned absences each day. Andgo Smart Call has freed up the time of 12 Scheduling Staff. Here are a few examples of the meaningful work they are now able to focus on since using Andgo Smart Call.

Strategically filling shifts with the right people

This sounds simple, and it is, but it does not make it any less important. When faced with constant pressure to find people to fill shifts, there are times where the only factor comes down to ‘are they willing?’. Anyone is better than no one, right? Not always so.

In times of high stress, short deadlines and upholding patient care, the decision is made to put any warm body who can work in the staffing holes. This has been known to cause issues, as the skill sets and abilities of any warm body may not meet the requirement of daily work. With the freeing up of resources by Andgo Smart Call, the ability to do a thorough staffing review for departments becomes available. Proper skill assessment to ensure there is a spreading around of advanced training through the department can be completed. You may need to train up more triage nurses on the ER, or train more hazardous material handlers in Housekeeping, to keep up with staffing demands.

Scheduling Staff will have more time available to review the type of employees interested in picking up a shift. They can review each applicant to make sure there is a good match and the right people are doing the right work.

Fill shifts further in advance

With today, tomorrow and the weekend needs managed, it is time to look to the future. Filling staffing needs well into the future reduces the complexity of filling staffing in the current workweek. Plan to fill the vacancy left by an employee, or fill the three-week education leave as soon as these needs become known. Andgo Smart Call gives breathing room in the present, to make sure you can breathe easy in the future.  

Working closely with the units  

Learn the specific scheduling trends, patterns, and characteristics in your unit. This will allow you to begin to anticipate the effects they have on scheduling requirements and begin to proactively work to fulfill them.   

Understanding of Organizational events

Have an important surgery coming up? Time to monitor staffing levels to ensure the right people are in the right position.  

Take the time to learn more about upcoming organizational events and the effects they will have on staffing requirements.  Work to proactively meet these needs before they show up on your doorstep.

Making sure the people get and take time off

Vacation payouts can become a huge liability if not properly managed throughout the year. The challenge is that you need time to manage, monitor and ensure each member of the unit is getting and taking time off.  With Andgo Smart Call you get time to do this. Additionally, you can work closely with employees to find vacation time that works for both them and the unit.

When it comes to automatically notifying employees of available shifts, Andgo Smart Call has been doing it for years.  Andgo Smart Call was designed and developed in partnership with Canadian Healthcare Providers. It is the insider’s solution to automating call-outs in Canadian Healthcare.

Want to see how we can help your organization?

Book a Demo

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Follow us on Twitter for updates.

Methods of Communicating to Employees

Manual callout processes are time and resource consuming. The manual callout process generally follows these steps:

  • Record absence
  • Build an appropriate call-in list
  • Phone first name on the call-in list
  • Ask the employee if they want to work shift
  • If yes, the process stops, if no call next employee
  • Repeat step 4 until an employee says yes
  • Inform the department of employee change

Not only is this method resource and time consuming on the person/persons who are performing it, but also for the department who is experiencing the absence of an employee, as they have the greater pressure to delivering quality care while short-staffed. The good news is, this pressure can be relieved by automating some, or all, of the above steps. More good news is the method of communicating unfilled shifts to employees can be done by not only a phone call, but also through SMS text messaging, email, and employee self-service through integrated websites. Even more good news, all these methods can communicate unfilled shifts to employees within a few minutes of each other and without the need for a staff scheduler, scheduling clerk, or employee to be on the call-out end.

Phone Call/Interactive Voice Recording (IVR)

As mentioned previously, with automated callouts, there no longer has to be a staff scheduler, staffing clerk, or an employee, on the callout end. This task can now be performed by the Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) system. The IVR computer-generated voice reads unfilled shift information to the employee from pre-written script and the employee has the option to:

  1. Hear the shift again
  2. Apply for the shift
  3. Move on to next unfilled shift

Employee responses are recorded through the phone call and automatically entered into the system.

Short Message Service (SMS)/Texting

As more and more people move towards SMS/texts as the primary means of communication, it is important for work opportunities to also be communicated via the same method. When looking at streamlining communication to employees, distributing information via SMS text messages is a must. The accessibility and convenience of SMS text messaging make it much easier to get feedback from employees on time-sensitive matters such as expressing interest in picking up a vacant shift. Additionally, there is an audit trail of interactions that can be easily reviewed at any time.

Email

Although email is not the fastest form of communication and not given the highest priority, not all unfilled shifts are urgent. Unfilled shifts, urgent or not, may be emailed to employees with all the shift details included. Links included in emails allow employees to be immediately directed to the employee self-service webpage to apply for the shift.  Which brings us to our next point…

Employee Self-service/Andgo Systems website

Employees may login to their self-Service website to view and apply for unfilled shifts of all priorities. This information is accessible to employees 24/7 via computer terminals, tablet devices and mobile phones. Integrated self-service systems can also display the employee scheduled work calendar, so they can see what upcoming shifts are on their schedule. Advanced systems provide employees with the option to apply for annual and general leave requests.

Four methods of communicating to employees. All Automated.

When unfilled shift data enters the system, the programming handles all the old methodology from the manual callout and contacts the employees with the unfilled shifts according to employee preferences. If your employee prefers texts over phone calls, then there is an option for your employee to select this preference. The employee is happier with being contacted for shifts via their method of choice. Conversely, the organization is happier because their scheduling staff/staffing clerks are now free to do more value-add work. Automating callouts saves time, resources and improves employee satisfaction with scheduling.

When it comes to automatically notifying employees of available shifts Andgo Systems have been doing it for years.  Manually communicating available shifts to employees is an error-prone, labor-intensive process that does not scale and costs healthcare organizations every day.

Find your Savings:  andgosystems.com/#calculator

 

Follow us on Twitter for updates.