Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in Ramat Gan, the largest hospital in Israel, now provides health services through the popular messaging application WhatsApp – and will be the first major public hospital in the country to offer this type of communication alternative to their patients.
The ability for communication via WhatsApp was integrated into the medical center’s already existing SimpleChat structure – which concentrates all forms of referrals, whether it be email, phone, SMS, online messenger or WhatsApp, into one easily accessible database – by the Tel Aviv-based Elad Software Systems, who also served as the creators of the initial chat system.
“Installing WhatsApp in the hospital’s service system will allow us to route up to 50% of the calls currently received by digital channels to allow patients to receive documents and provide information over the course of one easy phone call,” Shimi Ernst, CIO and digital transformation manager at Sheba Medical Center said.
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“We deal with about 3,000 telephone inquiries every day, so the service and improvements to efficiency improvements are significantly beneficial for [patients and medical staff]. Installing WhatsApp on the system allows us to significantly improve the customer experience and helps us strengthen our relationship with our patients.”
Sheba Medical – ranked the tenth best hospital in the world, according to a report by Newsweek – allows those seeking outpatient medical services to coordinate their hospital visit through a live or automated customer support representative, depending on preference, via WhatsApp – in turn significantly shortening wait times for all center services.
In addition, the WhatsApp service makes it possible for patients to request and receive information 24 hours a day as well as facilitate secure document transfer – all able to be completed over the course of one phone call.
The service underwent a soft-launch in early September, and since the pilot the amount of WhatsApp referrals has steadily risen week to week. Now, 20% of calls funneled through the Sheba Medical call center are placed through WhatsApp, showing evidence that Sheba Medical patients are quickly adopting the new communication protocols.
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