PCFA is Australia’s leading community-based organisation for prostate cancer research, awareness, and support. The organisation supports thousands of men and families each year, striving to improve survivorship outcomes and quality of life for all those impacted by the disease.
Each year the organisation distributes around 20,000 survivorship kits to men and the community, supports around 12,000 patients through its Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service, and connects around 6,000 members of an Online Community dedicated to improving understanding of this complex disease.
In 2020, PCFA held a major fundraising appeal to establish a new nationwide Prostate Cancer Specialist Telenursing Service, so that help for men and the community would be just a phone call away.
PCFA’s project plan involved integrating an existing 1800 number with the new service, and they needed to consider the full range of options to ensure the service would be impactful, effective, and cost-efficient for the thousands of donors who gave generously to make it possible.
It became clear quickly to the project team that the service would not be efficient if the default call pathway involved taking a message, logging it in a spreadsheet, and queuing the caller for a callback from the telenursing team. The team knew this approach would place enormous pressure on all staff, and could exacerbate frustration and anxiety among distressed callers.
The team also knew that they’d get regular callers, people who had ongoing nursing concerns that required follow up advice and continuity, which meant they needed a record of each caller’s case history. With a basic call system, securely capturing this depth of data was not possible.
Of equal importance, most callers would require follow up care in the form of survivorship kits and information packs which PCFA sends by email or post. Without a more sophisticated system for managing callers, it was clear to the team that this would not be manageable with their existing infrastructure and administrative system.
COVID-19 had also increased the need for enhanced sophistication, with emails and calls to the organisation increasing significantly, both in volume and complexity. Australia-wide, men were upset that diagnostic services and treatment were being delayed, and PCFA’s specialist nurses on the ground were stretched, challenging the organisation to innovate to maintain and grow its support.
The team knew they had to find new solutions in order to save lives.