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Canadian college managed swine flu outbreak with hosted IVR

The potential outbreak of an epidemic is one issue that isn't taken lightly these days. When a virus begins to spread rapidly throughout the population, schools and colleges are a particularly vulnerable target for widespread illness.

Most recently, the H1N1 virus outbreak of 2009 nearly shut down universities across the country, due to its notably contagious propensity. One school that was hit especially hard with swine flu cases was Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario.

In order to avoid filling health centers with infected students and spreading the virus further into the community, college officials turned to an innovative telecommunications solution. Using a hosted interactive voice response (IVR) system, the school was able to survey the entire campus by phone, which essentially helped quarantine sickly students in their dorm rooms.

Algonquin was able to make roughly 1,000 calls to students with the hosted IVR system that asked them a dozen automated questions about their symptoms and general health in less than a minute, according to TMCnet.

The hosted service collected and amassed all the data from the responses, and the school was able to turn over the information to medical professionals, who could then have a better idea of how severe the outbreak was, and how to handle it.

"We've talked about this with the other institutions in town, as well. We could potentially use the results from the… test as a proxy for the total population in terms of what's going on out there in the community," Algonquin College Planning Director, Brian Burns, told CTV News.

Whether it be for managing an emergency or for simply collecting customer satisfaction data, businesses and organizations can quickly aggregate large quantities of information with hosted IVR for a fraction of what it would cost to manually make these calls.

For more information about hosted IVR and other IT solutions, company leaders should talk with the industry's leading telecommunications consultants at Subsidium Technologies.