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Putting the citizen at the centre of accessing information about health and health services

Author:

Kirsten Connolly

HSEIE
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Abstract

Introduction: The transformation of the National Information Line to a modern omni-channel public information service, HSELive, is currently underway. The transition from an analogue (phone service) to offering the public support on signposting and navigating of health services via phone, email, LiveChat and Twitter is putting the needs of the public at the very centre of our health services. Early stage data from this enhanced service is showing a 95% service level and indicates a 98% satisfaction with the LiveChat service.

The National Information Line was established in 2005 to provide information to the public via phone on all matters relating to health services and receives over 100,000 contacts per year. The number of contacts increased by 10% in 2016 and is anticipated to continue to grow in response to changing customer service trends globally.

Problem/Situation?: Research conducted in 2015 showed that 55% of the public find it difficult to understand how the health service works and 59% find it difficult to understand how local health facilities are organised (Behaviours & Attitudes, April 2015). The changing structures of the health service will continue to impact on the public’s ability to navigate the health system and on the user experience of accessing health services, which underpins the public’s ability to have trust and confidence in public health services.

In addition to changes in our health service, how the public chooses to engage with organisations is also changing. More people are now using digital platforms to interact with organisations and to ask questions or solve service related problems. Phone / voice is the fastest reducing medium of communication as more and more people turn to digital channels. We need to be responsive to how service users expect to interact with us; proactively support citizens to navigate the healthcare system on platforms of their choosing.

What has been done?: In November 2016, the National Information Line transitioned to HSELive, a responsive multi-platform public information service, providing seamless consistent responses to public enquires in line with principals of integrated care. The public can now interact with the team, who are a goldmine of information of health, health services and entitlements, via Live Chat on hse.ie, email and Twitter. The service is designed with the user at the centre, providing a positive and supportive customer/patient journey through the health service ultimately delivering a better user experience of our health services.

In addition to significantly enhancing the user experience of the health services, this digital transformation also, importantly, provides an opportunity to use public interactions data to drive improvements in our services. Every contact with HSELive signals that the public are experiencing a problem somewhere in the health system. A new customer relationship management tool and data systems are being introduced in in HSELive to enable us to identify these issues and focus our energies on fixing the blockages that exist at the root cause of the problem.   

How to Cite: Connolly K. Putting the citizen at the centre of accessing information about health and health services. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2017;17(5):A487. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.3807
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Published on 17 Oct 2017.

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