Several Czech tech companies, in cooperation with the state, quickly set up a new helpline as the established emergency hotlines couldn’t cope with the sudden wave of thousands of calls. The new helpline saves lives by answering all non-emergency questions, allowing the emergency lines and services to do their job.
official information: mostly about the state’s Covid-related guidance and decrees in force at the time;
medical information: about symptoms and other health professionals’ guidance;
general information: of various sorts, which do not fit in categories 1 or 2.
The helpine also uses chat as much as possible. It also tries to collect feedback via the chat and in the initial days, it received 4,72 rating (on 1-5 scale, 5 is best).
About 150 people answer 15 to 20 000 calls a day – in a country of 10 million. Some of helpline operators are state workers and even more are employees of companies which offered help to the state. But most are volunteers who ended up staying at home because of the nation-wide lock-down.
Authorities guide people to find the information they need on available official websites. But those who don’t find answers to their questions or are unable to do so can call 1212. The line follows 3 basic callscripts:
Only about 10 % of calls are cases in which the call operator suggests the caller to seek medical help in hospital. A lot of the calls are travel-related or about legal issues brought about by nation-wide quarantine (e.g. in employer-employee relationship).
Going forward, the helpline is also supposed to function more as a central nod from which people can be connected to already existing, specializised helplines.