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Ryan Leung

August 12, 2020

Athens Free Clinic Ramps up COVID Testing with Telzio Hotline

Nonprofit Athens Free Clinic provides mobile health services and COVID testing with the help of 60 volunteers and virtual phone services from Telzio.

Athens Free Clinic provides mobile health to those in need that lack means to regular health care in Georgia. A grassroots network of medical students and faculty at the Augusta University / University of Georgia, the Athens Free Clinic has expanded their healthcare services to COVID-19 testing. They came to Telzio to overhaul their hotline capabilities in order to support operations that have ramped up seemingly overnight.

In wake of the global pandemic, Telzio provided assistance to Athens Free Clinic’s efforts with a far more efficient hotline service than what they previously had with AT&T. As many people in the community sought testing, issues arose with busy phone lines, long wait times, and inability for wider coverage.

Using Telzio as a hotline reduced the bottleneck of having only one intake person who could answer calls at a time. They were able to keep their existing phone number by porting it from AT&T to Telzio, which Telzio converted into an unlimited number of lines for their operation.

Now the clinic has over 60 medical student volunteers answering calls remotely on a rotating schedule. Patients can choose between English and Spanish options, and automatically be directed to the right staff member based on language. Automated call scheduling directs callers based on a weekly schedule, eliminating the need for staff to manually hand off the phone to the next person to take calls. In addition, staff/volunteers can easily enable do-not-disturb directly from the Telzio mobile app as needed.

Incoming callers are placed in a virtual waiting queue, eliminating missed calls and busy signals, and enabling the clinic to serve more people. This new mode of operation vastly expanded their testing efforts, and allowed for more capacity in volunteers working all around the county.

We had the opportunity for a Q&A with Zac, the manager of Athens Free Clinic, to hear his thoughts after switching to the Telzio platform.

"Now we are able to distribute the clinic calls to many people at once and ensure that all calls are handled quickly and efficiently."

- Zac Adams, Medical Student and Manager of the Athens Free Clinic

Read more about Zac's experience with Telzio below.

What is your role at the Athens Free Clinic?

I am a medical student at the AU/UGA Medical Partnership, and I helped found Athens Free Clinic with Dr. Suzanne Lester and another medical student, Hamzah Ali. Now, I am coordinating the medical student side of our COVID-19 response.

What need are you serving in your community that brought you to look for Telzio?

Right now, we are running door-to-door testing for COVID-19 in Clarke County for people that need to be tested but do not have access to transportation. We are partnered with the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government for public health surveillance, and as part of the public health surveillance program, we must fill out screening forms for every person that we test. In order to speed up the testing in the field, we needed a way for medical student volunteers to answer our COVID-19 hotline from their homes and screen all of the people that need testing.

How are you using Telzio to fulfill this need?

We have set up a hotline using Telzio that allows over 60 medical student volunteers to remotely answer calls that come into the mobile clinic’s hotline. This allows us to answer a large volume of calls and to effectively screen people seeking testing before they are tested. It also allows more efficient delivery of results through the hotline.

What was your biggest challenge prior to Telzio?

We used to operate with just a single cellphone to handle calls for the clinic. Now we are able to distribute the clinic calls to many people at once and ensure that all calls are handled quickly and efficiently.

How has Telzio improved your ability to serve your community?

Using Telzio, we are able to screen people that want to seek mobile COVID-19 testing. By filling out their forms over the phone, it allows our testing team to quickly test people in the field without being slowed down by more paperwork.

Would you recommend Telzio to other nonprofits?

I would definitely recommend Telzio to other nonprofits! Setting up an account was very easy, and the discount offered to nonprofits has made it very affordable. Additionally, we have had great experiences with customer support!

Getting started as a nonprofit

As a government funded operation, the Athens Free Clinic had a limited budget, and our nonprofit team worked with them to provide a cost effective and flexible nonprofit plan.

With the 30 day free trial, they were able to do sufficient testing, onboard 60 users, and port their existing phone number with no downtime. Telzio’s intuitive user interface and unlimited customer support enabled a seamless transition that was fast and easy.

Visit to learn more.