CCAC call centre to help people

After spending more than a year just finding out if it could become a reality, the Community Care Access Centre’s 310-INFO call centre should be up and running by January.
The purpose of the call centre is so anyone within the Rainy River and Kenora districts can gain instant access to information about health care organizations in their area.
“The CCAC serves both the Rainy River and Kenora districts so we have a big area to cover,” CCAC executive director Dave Murray said.
The great number of community-based services across the districts, and the difficulty in finding the right one, was one of the CCAC’s reasons for proposing the call centre project.
“Most people don’t know all the numbers that can help them out,” Murray noted. “And even if you know where to call, it can take two or three days for a call to get back to you, or you can be referred to somewhere else.”
With the call centre, anyone from the 13 major communities in the two districts could call the 310-INFO line and find out about the more than 200 health care organizations in their area.
“Our mandate was to find a way for people to easily access community-based services; to provide a linkage between the services and the communities,” said Murray, who also noted there was always the problem of developing a system that could account for the dispersed populations in the districts.
The solution, he said, was in developing a call centre where information about–and referral to–health care services could be accessed by anyone.
The call centre would be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, employing eight full-time employees and four part-time staff.
“If you call, you will be answered by somebody live,” Murray stressed.
“We want to be sure people will get the information they want,” he added. “For example, nobody will have to punch a bunch of numbers into a touch tone system, and this is good particularly for seniors.”
Under the current system, health care services are often answering and re-answering the same questions, wasting hundreds of thousand of dollars. Murray said a call centre, which would serve as a central information source, could streamline the system and save time and money.
But the location of the call centre still has to be determined, with the candidates including Fort Frances, Atikokan, Dryden, and Kenora (these were the only ones with the “switching” capability needed for the service).
The location of these communities, with regard to fibre-optic linkage, also makes for a “self-healing ring.”
“If something were to happen to the fibre-optic cable in Dryden, for instance, the calls would be automatically relayed back in the other direction so the call still gets through,” Murray explained.
Next week, the CCAC will be sending out requests for proposals to all the 13 major communities in the two districts seeking input on the call centre.
The location of the call centre, and what communities will be involved, will be determined by the end of October.
“We hope to have it operational by January,” said Murray, who seemed optimistic the call centre could revolutionize the way people access health care information.