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Objective: Since telephone is known as a cost-effective way of communication, there were several previous studies providing benefits and efficacy of interactive voice response system (IVRS) to health care system. However, such knowledge in Thailand is currently limited so that our study aims to analyze of its cost-benefit and patient satisfaction of IVRS, comparing to the direct line telephone.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of communication via telephone at out-patient unit, department of dermatology, Siriraj Hospital in 2017. The IVRS cost comprised IVRS device (the depreciation amount was calculated in 5 years) and wages for a nurse to answer the telephone. This was compared to that of the direct line telephone, which included wages for nurse to answer the telephone. Besides, we also studied patient satisfaction between those two systems.
Results: As patients could also receive information through IVRS, it reduced duration of a nurse answering the telephone. The total cost of IVRS was 1864 baht per month, whereas that of the direct line telephone was 2677 baht per month. Compared to the direct line telephone, patient using IVRS significantly had more satisfaction and convenient and significantly had less difficulty, complexity, and waiting time. As to re-schedule, IVRS significantly improved the success of patients’ re-schedule.
Conclusion: IVRS had lower cost per month and patients were significantly satisfied and had benefit with IVRS, compared to the direct line telephone.