Automated robot caller informed 14,000 people about their coronavirus test results

The Public Testing Call Centre, backed by SYNLAB and the staff of Medicum, adopted Telia’s robot caller solution at the end of March, to inform people about positive coronavirus test results.

The innovative solution will help people who have fallen ill during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak to receive their test results faster and to better plan the work of the testing call centre.

What started a year ago with a call line where just a couple of people worked, has now become a full-time job for around 100 people.

The workload of the testing call centre can be very uneven depending on the situation, while it is critical that a positive result is communicated as soon as the result is available in the laboratory, in order to prevent the spread of the virus. In this way, people will be able to self-isolate more quickly, inform their close contacts and reduce the risk of infecting their loved ones.

During the first week, the call robot deployed by the test centre made around 1000 automated calls per day, this is a task that takes the system less than an hour to complete. To date, the robot has been running for more than two weeks and has made more than 14,000 calls. A total of 97% of people who have received a call have interacted with the call robot.

‘The call robot is able to make hundreds of calls at a time, saving valuable man-hours, which is particularly important in situations where keeping people informed is critical, but call volumes are very high. The initial mass notification solution was developed by Telia in cooperation with the Police and Border Guard Board, and in the autumn the Health Board also adopted a similar call robot solution,’ said Kristjan Kukk, Head of Telia’s Business to Business Enterprise Segment.

Kerlin Kark, Head of the Test Call Centre organised by Medicum and SYNLAB Estonia, confirms that the use of Telia’s call robot is one measure that will definitely help in stopping the virus outbreak.

‘In the first half of the week, when the number of referrals from GPs and positive tests increase, call volumes are also higher, as the same call centre books appointments for testing and answers questions from those being tested. The sooner a person knows about a positive test result, the less likely they are to go around while being sick and infect someone else. The speech robot will provide stability and help us to better cope with outbreaks,’ said Kark.

Kark added that for call centre staff who have been working at the heart of the pandemic for over a year, informing people about being infected with the coronavirus has always been emotionally difficult, and the update will also help to prevent these tensions.

Kark describes how people in Estonia are rapidly adapting to the digital world, and recordings of calls show that robot calls are well received.

The automatic notification includes a message in Estonian, Russian and English. If someone wants to receive more information, they can conveniently add themselves to the waiting queue of the Medicum and SYNLAB public testing lines.

Kristjan Kukk pointed out that the need for similar automated solutions is clearly greater in a crisis situation. ‘For example, the robot caller solution has been successfully used to call all of the close contacts of people who have fallen ill. In addition to the private medical institutions organising the testing, it also helped to significantly reduce the workload of the coronavirus detectives at the Health Board,’ said Kukk.

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