After gathering requirements, we focused on learning more about our users and their pain points. We conducted 5 interviews with clinicians, and 4 with patients. Key information from all interviews is presented below.
Do you consider low-priority calls for trivial problems a widespread issue within the NHS?
“Yes, especially recently with the COVID-19 situation and lockdown. We have had a considerable increase in calls for small issues which slows down the pace of work and response time for serious issues.”
Do you have some existing system in place to solve this issue of low-priority calls? If yes, are there any limitations to the current system?
“Yes, we have a chatbot deployed through the internet on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to point people in the right direction to the appropriate services they need based on their replies to closed questions. It works well but a major limitation is that it requires people to have a smart speaker and an internet connection.”
Would you like to be able to deploy these chatbots onto something more widespread like SMS?
“Absolutely, that would be very convenient.”
Are you familiar with creating voice apps and conversation flows? And do you know how to write code?
“I have some experience with Voiceflow when creating the chatbots for Alexa and Google Assistant. No, I do not know how to write code.”
Would you prefer using a drag-and-drop interface like Voiceflow over learning to code to create conversations?
“Yes, I don’t have much free time to devote to learning to code.”
If there was software that could deploy Voiceflow conversations into SMS, what features would you look for?
“I’d like to be able to create a conversation flow on Voiceflow using either an Alexa or Assistant design and deploy it onto SMS within a couple of clicks. It should work with Internet Explorer as that is the main browser we use at the NHS and work on any system. I don’t want it to be too complicated to learn.”
What is the current experience when you call the NHS?
“Not the best. As of now, whenever I phone in regarding an issue, I am left waiting on a phone for a ridiculously long amount of time. Usually I find that the advice I get is a generic response that wasn’t worth the time I waited.”
How often do you use the current NHS system?
“I ring up whenever I have some issue with my back and I’m not feeling too well so I can get some advice on what to do.”
What kind of technological devices do you have at home such as a smart speaker or mobile phone?
“I’m not much of a techie myself, the only thing I have is a smartphone and I find it hard to use many apps that are recommended by people. I frequently lose internet access too because I live in a remote area.”
How do you think the process of getting the information you need could be more streamlined?
“Yesterday I phoned up my bank and they had a way where I can chat to a virtual person and they pointed me to the banking service I was looking for. It would be great if the NHS had something like that. I think it would also be a lot easier if it would understand different variations of answers like yes and no. That would be convenient.”
These interviews largely confirm the requirements of the project that we discussed with our clients. Key points include:
- The problem exists and is widely felt on both sides
- Using an intuitive design interface like Voiceflow is crucial
- Being able to reach people via SMS is crucial
The full transcript of the 9 interviews can be found here.