13SICK open 140 seat call centre on the Gold Coast

New 13SICK call centre opens

New 13SICK call centre opens on the Gold Coast

Good news for the Gold Coast call centre community with the National Home Doctor service opening their new 13SICK contact centre in Helensvale creating 140 jobs.

Whilst it was good news for the Gold Coast, the centre was relocated from South Australia so I’m fairly sure there would be some locals in SA not so thrilled about the news.

The 13SICK contact centre was officially opened by the Queensland Minister for Health, Cameron Dick, who was actively encouraging locals to try out the service.

“If we can use after-hours doctors services effectively, it takes pressure off our public hospitals and pressure off our ambulance services,” he said.

Benefits of Home Doctors

A recent report from Deloitte Economics showed that, without encouraging more people to use home-visit GP services, the cost to the public healthcare system of treating Australians would blow out by $724 million over the next four years.

This is based on a cost to taxpayers of $368 for a patient to attend an Emergency Department and an additional $1350 if the patient is transported by ambulance – compared to just $128 if seen by a home-visit GP.

“We’re having significant growth in the number of people who continue to come to public hospital emergency departments,” said Minister Dick.

The Executive Chairman of the National Home Doctor Service, Paul Mirabelle, says that over the last 10-15 years people have “defaulted” to the public hospital Emergency Department when their regular doctor was closed after hours.

He described the push for more people to use the after-hours service as a “win, win, win” situation.

“Clearly it’s a more efficient way to deploy scarce healthcare dollars. It’s better for the patient in the sense that they’re not overburdening the Emergency Department which should be kept for emergencies.

And it’s actually better for the patients in the sense that if you can be treated in your home without having to be brought into the hospital environment, it’s a clinically better outcome,” he said.

13SICK to get new contact centre technology

Its not just a shiny new centre though.

Recently, and as reported in CMO, the NHDS has updated the 13SICK technology platform that underpins its contact centre network. .

“We wanted to replace the legacy systems with an integrated technology stack that was robustly engineered,” Anthony Buhler, CIO of the NHDS said. “In particular, we wanted a platform that could provide both inbound and outbound capabilities as well as call recording. This had to happen in the context of providing urgent care for patients across Australia.”

NHDS’s ICT team reviewed the needs of each contact centre to determine the baseline requirements for the organisation. After rigorous vendor examination, NHDS adopted the Customer Interaction Centre (CIC) from Interactive Intelligence, which went live in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Buhler said the latest technology adoption means patients and carers can receive a consistent, efficient and empathetic service, which is aware of the status of their request and doctor’s arrival time.

Anthony Buhler
Anthony Buhler, CIO National Home Doctor Service

In particular, the adoption of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) software capabilities means patients can provide their phone and Medicare numbers while they wait for an operator, and a patient’s contact details can be available to the operator as soon as a call is taken.

“We can also host call recordings on site and route calls to different contact centres (depending on volume), which makes it easier to balance the load across all our operators,” he said. “This is also very handy when we need to work around carrier-related issues and maintenance windows, which typically occur during our operational window.”

Since using the software’s auto-answer functionality, the average speed-to-answer for calls at NHDS has reduced, from 76 seconds to 22 seconds. “When you are dealing with more than two million incoming calls each year, this adds up to a significant improvement in caller satisfaction and saving in time,” Buhler said.

Operators can also be logged onto the system based on their skill set rather than their location. This means calls requiring specialised customer service can be automatically routed to the operator best able to deliver it, he added.

To request an after-hours, bulk billed, doctor home call 13 SICK (13 7425) or visit homedoctor.com.au for more information. For any emergencies call 000. 

Recommended further reading: The ‘Hello can you hear me?’ phone scam in Australia

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