Department of Health

Using Automation to Fulfil 15,000 Requests for Health Information

Eckoh worked with the Department of Heath (DH) and the Central Office of Information (COI), the Government’s former centre of excellence for marketing and communications, as part of their Pandemic Influenza preparedness.

The COI needed a telephone information service to deal with a possible pandemic situation, designed so that it could be activated at extremely short notice.

On the 26 April 2009 the service went live and the service was ready to take calls that same day. A TV, radio and print media campaign was organised by the COI to advertise the number with the first live calls being taken on the 30 April.

The service allowed callers to obtain information on swine flu: what to do if you think you had contracted it; how to prevent contracting it; and what action the Government was taking. It also allowed the caller to request an information leaflet in a variety of languages and accessibility formats including brail and large type, during 2009 Eckoh handled over fifteen and a half thousand requests for the leaflets. The caller's name and address details were taken automatically using EckohADDRESS, an automated speech recognition solution for capturing name and address information.

The service has effectively handled over 1 million calls since its launch with the busiest day on the 14 July 2009, when the service take over 58,000 calls.