​Number of lost calls cut as staff refer to mobile directory for contact details. 

"[The app] has reduced the number of internal calls asking for staff phone numbers by about 45 per cent. At SGH Call Centre, it frees up about 35 man-hours each week."

Healthcare professionals are constantly on the go.   This means they often cannot access the staff directory on the intranet because there are no computers available nearby.   With the recent introduction of the SingHealth mDirectory mobile application, SingHealth staff can now easily search for staff phone numbers anytime, anywhere, at the tap of a screen.

The mDirectory is one of many initiatives of the SingHealth Appointment Access Taskforce (AATF) to improve access to appointments in SingHealth institutions by creating a seamless experience for patients and a user-friendly application for staff.   The Taskforce is co-chaired by Professor Agnes Tan, Division Chair of Ambulatory and Clinical Support Services, SGH and Ms Lee Chen Ee, Director of Office for Service Transformation (OST), SingHealth.

SingHealth call centre agents receive a large volume of internal calls, many of them coming from staff enquiring about telephone numbers of their colleagues.   In 2013, close to 2,000 calls per week came through the call centre’s general enquiry line requesting for contact numbers of SingHealth staff members although such contact details are readily available on the intranet.

Under AATF, the Appointment Rules Workgroup created the mDirectory application in March 2014 as one way to reduce the number of internal calls to the call centres.   The Workgroup, co-led by Ms Sandra Koh, Director of Operations at SGH and Mr Lucas Goh, Assistant Director of Clinic Operations at SHP, worked closely with an IT team to develop the application.

The fact that staff can now look up staff contact details of through their mobile phones has reduced the number of internal calls to the call centre asking for staff phone numbers by about 45 per cent.   At SGH Call Centre, it frees up about 35 man-hours each week.

According to Ms Selina James Nanayakara, an Executive at SGH Call Centre, “Since the mDirectory was launched, it had resulted in more time to handle external calls and hence reduced waiting time for patients and public. It has also freed up our agents’ time to manage other more important calls such as code blue activation, civil emergencies and patients asking for top-up of medication.”

There were numerous challenges the team faced in developing and launching the mDirectory application.   The biggest of which was ensuring secure data access while maintaining a user-friendly experience.   With constant changes in the staff directory database – new employees joining the SingHealth family and some others leaving – the team also has to ensure that contact information in the mobile application is promptly updated.

Koh Lin Lin, Deputy Director at IHiS and member of the Appointment Rules Workgroup, said, “Keeping our patients in mind is the most important factor.   Everyone in the team wants to transform our staff connectivity and reduce the call centre workload to create a seamless experience for the patient.”

The workgroup’s job does not end here.   The mobile application is just a start of more things to come : The team aims to use this platform to improve the call experience for patients and a more user-friendly experience for staff.