In the spring of 2020, during the first wave of the coronavirus crisis, visitors were not allowed in the hospitals, and they couldn’t deliver packages to the patients. Krista Valdvee, the head of cooperation services at Viljandi Hospital Foundation, started looking for a possible solution so that relatives could send gifts to patients. Often those small packages help to keep patients happy. “In the spring of 2020, guests were not allowed in the hospital to avoid the risk of infection. Restrictions eased in the summer, but the situation again required a ban on visits in the autumn. Guests could only bring things for the patients to the information desk on weekdays and in the morning from seven to four in the afternoon,” describes Valdvee the renewed situation at the beginning of the corona crisis. “Often relatives of those in treatment live far from Viljandi or for other reasons they cannot come and bring the package during the working hours. That's why we needed a solution for evenings and weekends. As it is difficult to predict the number of deliveries to patients, it did not make sense to keep a person to receive them,” says Valdvee. She, therefore, decided to contact Cleveron to find a possible solution. Cleveron is a technology company with its headquarters in Viljandi; it is often the case that the people of Viljandi are the first to try out innovative robotic products and are already used to various parcel machines and other solutions.
More efficient use of time
The Cleveron 351 outdoor parcel machine is best suited for the 24-hour service. Visitors can now leave their parcels in the device at the main entrance of the hospital 24 hours a day, at a time that suits them. “We are very pleased that the relatives or friends of the patients are now able to bring packages to patients at a time that suits them the best, and the staff can pick them up according to how the workflow allows,” describes Valdvee the experience with the parcel locker. Whereas initially there was a need for relatives to send packages to those in treatment, now the machine’s purpose is broader. For example, couriers also leave goods for IT and technical departments in the parcel locker.
“I will certainly encourage other health and welfare institutions to try solutions that allow for more meaningful use of the workforce.”
- Krista Valdvee, the head of cooperation services at Viljandi Hospital Foundation
It initially takes time to get used to, as with any new thing. By now, almost half a year later, the employees of Viljandi Hospital are used to the new system. Visitors have also adopted the locker. Questions and misunderstandings do occur, but customer support can resolve those over the phone.
The need for a locker remains
As the need for a parcel machine arose when the hospital banned visitors, one can rightly ask how the use of the locker will change if visitors are allowed to see patients again and can hand over the packages themselves. Krista Valdvee is optimistic about that: “Of course, guests will hand over the packages to patients during their visits. However, sometimes there are situations where something urgently needs to be handed over outside the visit or the patient's visit is not possible for some reason.” Couriers also still leave goods for the hospital in the locker. “If the couriers bring the parcels to the vending machine, our employees can pick them up at the time convenient for them, not the courier.”
Easy to use
Leaving the package for the patient in the hospital is convenient. When using the machine for the first time, the person who wants to leave the parcel for the patient in the hospital must download the CollectNet mobile application and register as a user. If necessary, visitors can also do this in the hospital's Wifi network. The person must open the application at the locker, scan the QR code on the machine, and select the patient's department and the size of the parcel space. The cabinet door then opens, the guest places the package on the shelf and closes the door. At a convenient time for the hospital’s employees, they pick up the parcel from the locker and deliver it to the right person.
There is a widespread rumour that Estonians are a nation of parcel machines. That also seems to be the case, and it is becoming increasingly common to receive and deliver parcels at a convenient time. Viljandi Hospital is an excellent example of an intelligent institution implementing this solution to improve its workflow. Cleveron 351 is a compact outdoor parcel locker that is easy to install and deploy. One person can install the parcel locker. The machine arrives as a fully assembled unit, and it includes the necessary software, which makes deployment even quicker. The software doesn't require expensive and lengthy integrations. After a couple of simple steps, the APM is ready to use. It is possible to purchase Cleveron 351 parcel machines individually, and as the parcel volumes grow, it is possible to add extra modules to the main module. Today, many libraries, municipalities, car services, logistics companies and many companies from other fields already use the outdoor parcel machine.