The HSE officially launched their new multi-platform information service HSELive in Ardee today, with the nationwide six-day-a-week phone and online service being operated out of St Brigid’s Hospital in the town.
HSE Director General Tony O’Brien was present at the launch this morning out of St Brigid’s were the new service operates from. Initially a phone only service, the local team of operators lead by Geraldine Charman have overseen a transition that has seen the service incorporate multi-platform methods of communication.
HSELive now provides support over the phone, LiveChat on HSE.ie, via Twitter @HSELive and via e-mail too. Available 6 days a week – 8am to 8pm and 10pm to 5pm on Saturdays – the HSELive team say 27,000 people have used the Live Chat function since it was first launched in November of last year.
“This service HSELive is at the cutting edge of not just public services in Ireland but also what public services are doing throughout Europe,” HSE DG O’Brien said at today’s launch. “HSELive will become an integral part of how all of us as citizens find our way to the service we need in the most effective way possible.
“They key issue is the friendly voice at the end of the phone or the keyboard that the public will have access to. The staff here today will be central to the experience that the Irish public have of their health service long into future. The feeling the people will have of the health service will start in this room, with the first point of contact. This is a team that is going to make sure people feel well served as they make their inquiries.
HSELive Team Leader Geraldine Charman has been involved with the service from the very beginning, 14 years ago. Now, there’s 14 full time staff as HSELive takes off with an emphasis on online communications.
“It’s a very special day for me actually because my journey began here in 2003 when this service was piloted as a new initiative. Back then it was a regional service for the North East only, catering for Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan. It proved to be very valuable resource indeed,” Geraldine told ThisIsArdee.ie today.
“Then in 2005, it was launched as a national service. We were able to provide info to the public via phone and e-mail at that particular point on all matters relating to health services. We noticed in recent years that a shift has taken place in how the public engage with the health service. We full understand that it’s not always easy for our service users to know where to turn to for guidance when they’re trying to navigate the health system.
We have transformed from an information service to a responsive multi-platform information hub. People can engage with us, ask us questions and they will get consistent responses in a timely fashion through a channel of their choosing.
“It’s changed completely. “Primarily we were a phone service and then we took on the extra channel of e-mails and since then it’s grown. We’ve come to this day. We trialled LiveChat last November with a 90% satisfaction rate. On average daily the team handle 450 queries from members of the public.
“The staff at HSELive take great pride in their work and demonstrate the core values that underpin the organisation. It’s not the work they do necessarily, it’s the way they do,” she continued.
“Initially it was myself and gradually we took on more staff if and when it was needed. We are this juncture today with the volume of queries we have, it’s increasing all the time. LiveChat has taken off. It’s an extremely busy service to operate.”
The HSELive team is available 6 days a week and are well versed in navigating the health service, explaining about entitlements and how best to access services and supports locally. They are here to inform the public where to go and what to do when it comes to access health and social care needs.
According to the HSE, the 10 most common queries received by the service include medical cards, the drug payment scheme, the long term illness scheme, dental services and services for older people.
You can access HSELive during the following times and via the following methods:
- 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 10am-5pm Saturdays
- Telephone – From a landline Callsave 1850 24 1850 or from a mobile call 041 685 0300
- LiveChat – Visit HSE.ie and click on the chat icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen
- Twitter – Tweet @HSELive and an operator will get back to you or just join the conversation
- Email – Send your query to [email protected] and an operator will email you back within 24 hours