Information about Whakarongorau Aotearoa
Whakarongorau Aotearoa runs the National Telehealth Service (launched in November 2015) which delivers free health and mental health advice, support and information 24/7, 365 days a year in New Zealand. They provide clinical support for general practices after hours, and a range of virtual health and mental health support services. Whakarongorau Aotearoa work hard to virtually support people of Aotearoa New Zealand to stay well and connect them seamlessly with care when they need it. The National Telehealth Service is co-funded by the Ministry of Health, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), Te Hiringa Hauora/Health Promotion Agency, Ministry of Social Development and the Department of Corrections. Whakarongorau Aotearoa employees Clinicians and Mental Health Professionals delivering over 140 programs. These programs are 24x7 utilizing teams spread across the country with the majority of staff working from home.
Motivation for Change
By 2018 the workforce planning solution in place was no longer meeting the needs of Whakarongorau Aotearoa. The organization had expanded its range of professional clinically robust services across seven digital channels including voice, SMS, webchat and email. The number of frontline employees was continuing to increase to meet demand and to provide specialization, and due to the limitations of the existing scheduling solution, the workload in creating and maintaining schedules and rosters was cumbersome. There weren’t many options to automate processes which resulted in the old system being time heavy and requiring a lot of data manipulation which made it susceptible to human error. In addition, the existing solution was unable to deliver the sophisticated reporting and insights required to plan for and ensure operational excellence.
When assessing WFP tools available in the marketplace, Alvaria was the only solution which was able to meet the above requirements and fit within the budget. In addition, Call Design was able to assist in building an interface between Alvaria and the Whakarongorau Aotearoa payroll system, allowing Whakarongorau Aotearoa to decommission their online time sheeting solution, pay employees based on their schedules in Alvaria and deliver a better employee experience. Alvaria allows Whakarongorau Aotearoa to forecast and resource normal demand as well as react to community events relating to physical and mental health allowing Whakarongorau Aotearoa to respond to incidents as they occur.
Frontline teams experienced an instant benefit as they no longer have to complete timesheets, their rosters are more visible, and changes can be made easily. There have been two significant events where Alvaria has supported Whakarongorau Aotearoa’s response to national events and its support of the people of Aotearoa:
2019 Christchurch Mosque Shootings
1737 was called upon in the wake of the tragic events of Friday 15th March, 2019 in Christchurch which sent shock waves throughout our normally peaceful country on an unprecedented scale. 1737 is part of the National Telehealth Service mental health and addictions services, New Zealand’s busiest mental health service. 1737 was activated as the ‘psychological first response service’ and has been front and centre throughout the crisis response, ensuring all New Zealanders know they can access virtual support and counselling, whenever and however they need it.
Immediately after the event Whakarongorau Aotearoa was able to quickly model possible volume increases and assess resource requirements. In addition, mental health professionals from other organizations and from private practice, along with past employees, joined Whakarongorau Aotearoa’s response. Alvaria Workforce allowed these clinicians to be added easily into the plan, along with their schedules.
The National Telehealth Service COVID-19 response began on 7 February, 2020 with the establishment of a dedicated phone service available 24/7 to a central front door for COVID-19 related health advice and information to the public.
The service quickly extended to support people in self isolation, assist with contact tracing and offer mental health support, as well as provision of a dedicated clinical advice line for community-based practitioners. At its peak, the team answered 14,000 contacts in one day. For the WFP team, productivity improved significantly and allowed the team to turn towards business partnering rather than transactional rostering. Alvaria Workforce provides many different ways to quickly build and edit rosters. For example, a recent change to NZ Employment Law required Whakarongorau Aotearoa to add a new break to all schedules. To add that break to all shifts for the next 8 weeks was a 5-minute task.
As part of the COVID-19 response, more than 770 extra people were recruited and trained. Five new contact centers (eight in total) were set up. A five- month technology project was delivered in just seven days, increasing infrastructure six-fold to manage the surge in demand.
The Alvaria Workforce bulk import tools allowed Whakarongorau Aotearoa to add 400 new employees to Alvaria in 5 minutes. Just 30 minutes after creation, those 400 new employees had schedules built for the next three months and were able to view their rosters via Alvaria Workforce’s web portal “Empower/WEM”. The ability to do this has played a vital part in Whakarongorau Aotearoa supporting New Zealand’s response to COVID-19.