Calls to The James Cook University Hospital switchboard will be answered faster when a new voice recognition telephone system goes live tonight (Tuesday 1 August).
The automated system will pick up most calls within two seconds and will enable more calls to be dealt with at any one time.
Callers will be asked to state the name of the person or department required and the advanced voice recognition software will then transfer the call directly to the department or individual required.
If a request is not recognised after two attempts, callers will automatically be transferred to an operator for further assistance.
Patients will still be able to call departments and helplines directly using the direct dial numbers provided on patient letters and on the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust website.
The automated service, which is already successfully used by staff and patients at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, will go live at James Cook from 7pm on 1 August. From then on, anyone calling the main hospital switchboard on 01642 850850 will receive the automated service.
Kevin Oxley, Director of Estates, Procurement and ICT, said: “A lot of work has gone into implementing this new automated system to make sure we get it right. We have trialled it with staff and are now pleased to be able to make this service available to the public.
“There are a number of benefits for patients as calls will be answered faster – many within two seconds – and callers can be transferred directly to the person or team they wish to speak to.
“The system is easy to use and anyone requiring further assistance can still be transferred to the operator.”