Unlocking Digital Inclusivity in Primary Care: Babblevoice’s Telephony

In this blog, DigitalHealth.London Accelerator alumnus company babblevoice share how their purpose-built telephony system can help enable digital inclusivity for patients accessing health and care services.

In an age where digitalisation is rapidly transforming healthcare, ensuring inclusivity for all patients is critical. Technological advances such as online portals and telemedicine have revolutionised access to healthcare for many, yet they can also exclude segments of society who for a raft of reasons lack digital literacy or access to technology.

Amidst this digital revolution sits a highly advanced, yet comfortingly familiar piece of technology – the telephone. Widely available and easy to use, the humble telephone, together with specialised surgery telephony like babblevoice, can be an enabler of inclusivity for healthcare access.

Healthcare’s Digital Divide

Around 1 in 20 UK households are without access to the internet (Ofcom, 2022), and approximately 10 million adults lack basic digital skills (Lloyds Banking Group, 2022). Reasons for this are varied, but people in low-income households and the elderly are much more likely to fall into these categories.

The shift towards digital healthcare services has undeniably improved convenience and efficiency for many patients. Virtual appointments, online repeat prescriptions, and electronic health records such as EMIS, have streamlined processes and empowered patients to take greater control of their healthcare journey. However, these advancements have also exacerbated disparities in access, leaving behind those who are unable to navigate digital platforms or lack reliable internet access.

Though telephony has undergone a technological revolution, the handset remains a universally accessible tool that transcends barriers of age, socioeconomic status, and digital literacy. Patients of all backgrounds can pick up the phone and connect with their surgery.

Using a telephony system like babblevoice which is specialised for primary care, enables practices to offer targeted access solutions and support to these patients. Maximising opportunities in this area can play a significant role in reducing health inequalities.

A Bridge to Digital Healthcare

Babblevoice’s innovative design and seamless integration with other clinical systems allow patients to be guided along pathways that mirror the surgery’s digital workflows. Once a patient connects to the platform with their phone, they can be led through automated selections (e.g. call back, leave a message, make an appointment using their handset), signposted to a range of customised options (e.g. repeat prescription, vaccination clinic, test results) and even triaged using voice commands.

Babblevoice also enables the telephone to act as a bridge to digital services for those patients who are happy to use them but cannot access them directly. It also includes functionality that enables the practice team to flag patients who are in vulnerable categories. Once the flag has been input into the system, babblevoice recognises the category as soon as the patient calls and can handle their call via a different pathway.

For example, care home residents can be automatically brought to the front of the queue to enable them to speak directly to receptionists; patients who do not speak English can be diverted to translators; patients accessing social prescribing services routed to specialised link workers.

Using AI technology, babblevoice will soon be able to take one step further towards inclusion for non-English speaking patients. Our engineers are in the later-stage development phase of enabling an instantaneous translation service. Both surgery and patient will be able to speak to each other over the phone in different languages, with the phone system translating their speech for each other in real-time.

The Power of Human Connection

In an era where healthcare is increasingly digitised and transactional, the human connection facilitated by telephony remains invaluable. By embracing the accessibility of the telephone, primary care practices can break down barriers and ensure that no patient is left behind by the digital age.

The surgery telephone can act as a champion of healthcare inclusivity. By harnessing the power of this transformative tool, primary care practices can bridge the digital divide, enhance meaningful connections, and deliver patient-centred care to all.

For more information about how babblevoice can support digital inclusivity for your surgery, get in touch at info@babblevoice.com

For more information on wider support for surgeries regarding digital inclusion, read these top tips from the Good Things Foundation.

Babblevoice is an alumnus of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Programme.

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is a collaborative programme funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the Health Innovation Network South London, the Office of Life Sciences, CW+, the Mayor of London and the Levelling Up Fund.