How Conversational Automation is helping Deskless Healthcare Workers

With the end of winter break, many schools returned to classes in the US and with them, the concern of testing availability. In Massachusetts for example students returned to classes after a “supply chain constraint” that affected rapid test distribution across the state.

Nonetheless, students and parents are not the only ones affected by the testing shortage. Nurses, medical staff and caregivers are concerned about staffing shortages around the state that might affect the ability to contain future Covid-19 surges. 

Even though public and private schools have been training their staff on sample collection and testing, many school districts believe that the lack of coordination, staff shortages and at-home tests not being delivered might endanger students returning to schools. 

In addition, many healthcare workers believe that “nobody had their backs during the pandemic” and nurses for example have been demanding better working conditions and improvements in terms of safety in their workplaces considering recent announcements regarding a new change in facemask policies and isolation periods for asymptomatic covid positive patients. 


Deskless workers and their role in the pandemic

Nearly 80% of the global workforce is considered deskless. It means that the vast majority of workers, even in the US, do not have access to a computer while performing their regular duties. 

During the surge of Covid -19 several types of workers such as delivery drivers, firefighters, EMTs, nurses, care givers, doctors and store clerks were called front line workers.

Today, many of them returned to their regular jobs but are still performing essential tasks. They all have something in common. They are deskless workers. 

Since the surge of Covid test sites, more and more nurses have left the hospitals to support mobile testing  and vaccination sites around the country. Not being able to communicate directly with labs and supply providers, as they did before, some coordination and communication issues have emerged. 


Communication and Coordination issues among deskless workers in health care 

Testing and vaccination sites are essential to fight future surges of Covid because it allows us to identify positive cases faster and protect vulnerable populations. 

But what happens if there is a sudden shortage of cotton swabs to perform the tests? Or if there is not enough PPE for the staff in a certain location? 

Who do they call then? And if they have someone to call, are they going to answer fast enough so that service won’t be affected?

All the concerns above are related to a lack of communication and coordination between healthcare workers, institutions and government that might be solved by centralizing communications and accelerating the support provided using bots. 


How Conversational Automation might help mobile healthcare workers 

First of all, Conversational Automation does not require expensive hardware or specialized equipment in the hands of the end-user.

Conversational Automation uses instant mobile messaging in combination with bots to automate repetitive processes WITH YOUR OWN MOBILE PHONE such as: 

  • Asking for questions or guidance about a procedure
  • Collecting information to be stored in a database, therefore replacing physical and online forms.  
  • Retrieving documents or important information about an individual (medical records, vaccination status, allergies, test results) 
  • Scanning QR and barcodes from your mobile phone so that you can process samples without an expensive scanner

Additionally, being able to text a company or specific service  just as you were texting a friend, takes off the burden of talking to a bot on the phone just to discover that they can’t help you and that after 30 minutes you still need to wait for the next available rep. 

Twnel, a Cambridge based company, has pioneered the Conversational Automation concept to help deskless workers be more productive by helping them request help and execute business processes such as requesting more supplies instantly and directly through their phones.

Unlike personal messaging apps and communication apps for desk workers, Twnel can organize conversations with thousands of people in a single dashboard, assigning each conversation to an available agent or offloading the agent using conversational automations or bots that can be easily built within the platform itself.

While people take on average 10 minutes to fill out consents and forms, Twnel makes it easier for healthcare workers to do the same by, for example, activating a bot on their phone that asks the name of the patient, age, school district, school, grade and other relevant information that is being uploaded to a designated database in real time. 

This allows nurses and other healthcare staff to provide faster service and eliminate administrative work that is perceived as “extra work”, therefore improving their working conditions and allowing them to concentrate in what they know best, healthcare. 

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