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.

What is data residency and why is it important?

Have you ever wondered about “the cloud’ and what it means to keep your data secure on the cloud? Different countries and regions have different regulations around data security, one major part is data residency. Ensuring your data stays securely stored in your local environment is very important when handling sensitive employee data. Andgo takes this seriously and ensures we go above and beyond when dealing with data security and residency.

So, what is data residency?

Data residency means that your data is being stored in a specific geographical location. With Andgo, you have the option to keep your data in the country where it originated, not just for storage, but through any external services we use. Data residency is extremely important to us and we consider it paramount when discussing data management and safety.

But isn’t the internet everywhere?  How is this managed? 

We work hard to ensure that the data generated in your country stays within the country. For Canada, this is managed by only using data centers with guaranteed Canadian Data Residency. In fact, we take this so seriously that we created our own Interactive Voice Response (IVR) service because there were no vendors that could guarantee Canadian Data residency.

We continue to enforce these regulations when working with customers outside of Canada. Every country has its own laws surrounding data residency and security, and we build that into our plan to ensure the data stays local and secure.

Why is data residency important?

Data residency is important for health information. In fact in Canada, it’s the law. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) applies to transfers of personal information to a third party, including a third party operating outside of Canada, for processing. This act sets clear rules and regulations around data security and residency. 

Challenges to data residency

Hosting

This used to be very difficult. When Andgo first started, there weren’t Cloud Infrastructure providers that had Canadian data centers. Now, due to the demand for data residency, the big three Cloud providers, Amazon Web Services, Azure (Microsoft), and Google Cloud Platform all have at least one Canadian data center.

3rd party software (services)

There are a bunch of services we would like to use (Google Text-To-Speech, Twilio, etc.), however, depending on our customers’ data residency requirements this might not be possible, so we work hard to ensure effective alternatives are available. Until these services adapt to meet the requirements set in place by data residency laws they are functions we will be unable to utilize. 

How Andgo keeps data safe

Andgo prioritizes data residency and security. It has to be at the forefront of our operations so that we are able to confidently keep our customers’ data secure. Here are the ways Andgo ensures its customer’s data is safe:

  • We only store data that  is needed to provide our services
  • We are vigilant in staying up to date on leading data residency trends, technology, and regulations
  • We encrypt data at rest and in-flight
  • We have strong data access segregation (ie: No shared resources for customers)
  • We have strong data access controls. Only the people who should see the data have access to see it.

More about Andgo

Andgo Smart Absence Management was developed specifically for complex scheduling environments. By working with Andgo, you get the benefits of working with a knowledgeable and experienced team familiar with complex scheduling processes, procedures, and requirements.

Andgo’s Smart Absence Management system has created immense value for each of our customers through the automation of complex scheduling workflows. At Andgo we understand no two organizations are the same. With this in mind, we have designed our system to accommodate the unique requirements and use cases of your organization.

Contact us for information on how Andgo can help your organization.

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What back to school means for shift workers

It’s that time of year again. The weather is cooling off, the leaves are starting to change, and our little ones are returning to the schoolyard. The major difference this year? COVID-19. For many the return to school is often anticipated and exciting, however this year there’s an air of unease. Return to school protocols are constantly evolving with the changing landscape of regional COVID-19 cases, and parents are left wondering what it means for them and their families.

For many workers, especially shift workers, there’s an unease about what the protocols are for working with sick children. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while the positive cases of children have remained low, they are not exempt from contracting COVID-19. Schools, therefore, needed to consider this when creating safety regulations. Many schools have enforced strict policies requiring students to remain at home for 14 days (and until their symptoms have disappeared) if they show any signs of COVID-19

So, what does this mean for parents?

Some employers and workplaces are fortunate enough to enable their employees to work remotely. However, that isn’t the case for everyone. Hospitals and other shift-work employers need to ensure they are properly staffed to serve their patients and customers. These organizations can’t function without employees physically in the workplace. Employers need to adopt strategies to keep their employees informed and their shifts filled.

With the strict ‘stay home’ regulations in place at schools, there is a greater risk of an increased number of employees calling in sick or taking personal days to look after their children. Employers need to have an efficient system in place to fill those shifts. 

What happens if an employee or their child test positive for COVID-19? 

The CDC encourages employers to implement contact tracing to help prevent the spread of the disease. This is another issue employers must prepare for. They need to have smart systems in place to properly trace employee contacts as well as notify their employees of potential infection rates.

In order to ensure a safe and healthy workforce, employers need to adopt strategies and methods to communicate with their staff and fill required shifts. Keeping staff up-to-date on COVID-specific issues and contact tracing information is important. This will help to assure employees and let them know their employer values their safety. In order to keep production running smoothly, and patients properly cared for, shifts need to be filled with healthy employees. 

While returning to school is a little more complicated this year, there are solutions employers can put in place to keep their workforce strong and healthy. Adopting strategies for contact tracing and effective communications with employees are two ways employers can maintain support, safety, and productivity in the workplace.

 


How Andgo can help

Our smart absence management software was designed for complex scheduling environments. Broadcast allows customers to easily communicate one-time alerts, bulletins, and/or instructions to employees.  This keeps employees up-to-date on what’s happening in the workplace. Smart Call automates the communication of available immediate need shifts to eligible employees, streamlining the shift-filling process. Quick Dial is an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system that optimizes the way scheduling departments receive, direct, and process incoming phone calls.

Read more about how Andgo’s absence management solutions can help your organization during COVID.

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Want to see how Andgo can help your organization? Contact us for more information.

Improve employee engagement and mental health through enabling meaningful work

Automation and the use of AI to streamline and innovate scheduling practices not only create operational savings, but it also gives valuable time back to scheduling staff which can be used toward more meaningful work. In working closely with our Healthcare customers, we understand the demands on scheduling staff, and what aspects of the jobs and tasks associated with scheduling prove to be most challenging. 

The following outlines some of these challenges and showcases how Andgo’s solutions can help.

Avoid burnout due to repetitive manual tasks

Employee burnout is becoming more and more common amongst all types of organizations. Within the scheduling environment, burnout tends to occur when scheduling staff is overburdened with tasks, especially when they are remedial in nature. 

Andgo can help reduce scheduling staff burnout by automating a large number of remedial, often mundane, and manual workflows. This allows for scheduling staff to focus on more meaningful,  thoughtful tasks that create value.

Reduce stress

Healthcare scheduling can be a very stressful occupation. Stress factors related to scheduling usually stem from an overwhelming workload which can have far-reaching effects throughout the organization. When shifts are not filled, departments are not fully or appropriately staffed. This means that patients might not get the care that they require. The consequences of errors or missed workflows can be critical, which can cause a lot of stress for all healthcare workers.

Andgo’s ability to automate the absence management and employee communication process from end-to-end significantly reduces time-consuming jobs and tasks. This saves scheduling staff time and allows them to continuously add value.

Eliminate employee boredom and associated negative effects

Boredom in the workplace is often prevalent but rarely discussed. Causes of boredom in the workplace can result from having to perform repeated and remedial work, not finding meaning in tasks performed, and feeling burdened by work volumes. The consequences of workplace boredom are increases in workplace accidents and errors, depression, anxiety, and disconnection between the employee and the organization.

Andgo can help reduce workplace boredom in the following ways:

  • Automating workflows, eliminating a large number of remedial tasks and providing a clear and comprehensive processing dashboard for scheduling staff
  • Workflows can be customized to provide job differentiation rules allowing for employees to benefit from more variety in their shift work (ex. Inter-departmental shift variability)

Andgo’s solution to enable meaningful work

Andgo’s personalized dashboards allow employees to book shifts ahead of time. This reduces the number of days they submit for on-call or short-call shifts and reducing some of the associated risks.

Andgo’s Smart Absence Management system can help your organization improve employee engagement and mental health. Our solutions will help your employees avoid burnout due to repetitive tasks. Employees will experience less stress and boredom, and fewer negative side effects due to on-call and short-call shift scheduling.

Contact us to find out how our solutions can help your workforce management.

Broadcast helps the SHA mobilize a team to go North

Saskatchewan recently saw a spike in COVID-19 cases in a northern community. It was imperative to mobilize a team of healthcare professionals as quickly as possible to assist the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority in managing the outbreak. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) needed to get support to the north immediately, so they turned to Broadcast for help. 

Andgo’s Broadcast module allows mass one-way communication to be sent to a configurable group of employees via text message, email, or phone. The SHA was able to send a Broadcast to its users in search of volunteers to help the northern community. It only took one day for more than 100 individuals to answer the call and volunteer to travel north to assist in fighting the outbreak. The fast response to the Broadcast is a great example of Saskatchewan residents coming together as a community to combat COVID-19. 

We love seeing our systems being put to work and creating positive change. We’re just a small piece of the equation in the fight against COVID-19, and we couldn’t be more proud. This is why we started Andgo. We work hard to provide Healthcare industries with communication tools they need to keep their staff informed.

Read more about how SHA is increasing its support in the Northwest to contain COVID-19 here.

How Broadcast Helps

Clear communication with employees during this trying time helps eliminate uncertainty. Broadcast allows employers to control the messaging across all regions and workforces. It’s important to keep employees up-to-date with the latest news, especially in a situation where the status is changing every hour. Broadcast helps organizations by providing them with a way to community important information to a large number of employees at once.

We’re here to help

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

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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.

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How Broadcast helps Healthcare Professionals stay informed during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing organizations on the frontlines to adapt to new challenges. One of these challenges is how they communicate with employees. Clear communication is crucial to ensure employees are receiving up-to-date information, especially in the healthcare sector. This is where we can help. Our Broadcast module helps Healthcare professionals stay informed of COVID-19 updates. It allows Health Regions to communicate information across their workforce all at once, keeping employees informed with the latest news. 

The Problem

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is merging each of the former regions into a single technology ecosystem. This has been a massive undertaking, and as of March, it is nearing completion. However, due to COVID-19,  SHA needed a way to easily and quickly communicate to all of its employees while this project is still under development.

This is where Andgo comes in.

The former Saskatoon Health Region is currently set up with the Broadcast module. The problem is this only covers approximately a third of the SHA workforce, and it does not include the capability to notify physicians. In other words, our team had to work fast to expand the Broadcast module to include the entire SHA workforce.

The Solution

This past week we tripled the capacity of the Broadcast module for SHA. It now provides coverage across the entire province. Additionally, we expanded the Broadcast module to notify physicians. The result is that all SHA healthcare professionals are being notified instantly of any updates and changes regarding COVID-19 via text message, email, and phone. 

For more information, visit Andgo’s COVID updates page.

How Broadcast helps Healthcare Professionals

Broadcast allows our customers to easily and efficiently communicate important information to all of their employees at once via text, email, and phone. This keeps employees up-to-date with the latest news and changes as they happen. Clear communication with employees about COVID-19 updates helps eliminate uncertainty and keeps healthcare professionals informed. Above all, the Broadcast module allows Healthcare organizations to focus on fighting COVID-19 and trust that their employees are staying informed.

The Broadcast module can work well for any large organization. All we need is lists of employees based on departments, teams, locations, etc., and we can set up mass messaging. Contact us to see how Broadcast can help your organization.


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.

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