OKLAHOMA CAPITOL -- A pilot program phone system in Oklahoma County provides Oklahoma Department of Human Services clients with immediate responses to routine phone calls and frees up case workers to handle more complicated issues, according to OKDHS officials.
The Direct Information Assistance Line (DIAL) is a hybrid program with the University of Oklahoma providing development and training for a centralized phone staff fielding routine calls. The last of the five local Human Service Centers was added and the rollout was completed this month.
At a cost of $698,706, the DIAL staff answered more than 50,000 calls in the first 4 months and provided immediate help using electronic documents. OKDHS is imaging more than a million documents per month and DIAL and Oklahoma County Human Service Centers staff can access the electronic case files.
DIAL handles calls concerning general program information, status of applications, specific case information, verifications, card usage and changes to case information.
“Every time a call comes into DIAL, we get an updated address, phone number and information for the case workers or supervisors if they need to follow up with the client,” said Albertha Coleman, DIAL manager.
The DIAL system improves timeliness and accuracy and allows case workers the flexibility to concentrate on more complicated issues.
“Having the DIAL line frees up about three hours a day for me to address other issues,” said Kay Hobson, supervisor for a Human Services Center in Oklahoma County.
When a call back or other action is necessary, information collected by DIAL staff is sent to the case worker who can answer the client’s questions with the information and file available online, improving customer service satisfaction and case action timeliness.
The DIAL phone number is (405) 521-DIAL or toll free at 1-866-943-4251. DIAL does not replace the number to call to report child or adult abuse. To report abuse, call 1-800-522-3511.
The DIAL program will be evaluated later in the year. Based on its success and resources being available, the program may be replicated in other parts of the state.