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  • Writer's pictureSovanpidor Ham

Validating a new hotline targeting informal workers through field tests

Updated: May 22, 2023

Published on Feb 4, 2015


A regional prototyping workshop on addressing the health needs of informal workers in November of last year resulted in several prototypes, one of which is an automated hotline co-created by InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia (iLab SEA) in collaboration with the Social Health Protection Association (SHPA).

"Without the field test, we would not have understood the different needs of the potential audience, such as some needing information about the Health Equity Fund, while others required more information about insurance. We also learned about their levels of literacy, language (including slang words), and the need for promotional materials to remind them of the hotline number," said Seila Nuon of SHPA.

The automated hotline offers informal workers a flexible channel through which they can increase their awareness, understanding, and utilization of available health financing mechanisms.

Whenever we design collaboration tools or assist organizational partners like SHPA in using our existing platforms like Verboice, we always ask these key questions: Is it needed? Does it work? Will it reach those who need it? Will they use it correctly?


Prospective users can access basic information through print leaflets, which explain how they can learn more about the reasons and process of signing up for an affordable health insurance service using the new hotline.


Thanks to the years of collaboration between iLab SEA and network operators, we were able to launch the new Verboice-powered hotline in just a couple of weeks, rather than months. This efficient process also allowed us to have additional time to observe our users, including their reactions to the leaflet content and the hotline, and gather their feedback.


Throughout this journey, we have learned the importance of simplifying the language and terms used in the promotional print leaflets and structured voice messages. As a result, one significant change we made to the automated voice messages was the removal of the navigation menu, which previously allowed users to quickly access specific information by pressing #1, #2, or #3. By incorporating user feedback and making these adjustments, we aim to create a better experience for hotline users. They will now listen to easily understandable messages before deciding whether to speak with human operators or leave questions when live operators are not available.


On a street in Phnom Penh, a 70-year-old bicycle fixer listens to the voice message specifically designed for informal workers like himself.


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