Cisco Collaboration Solution Advances Healthcare

Industry: Healthcare

Practice Area: Collaboration

The client is a non-profit, 499-bed healthcare facility nationally recognized for its pediatric and adult neuroscience and rehabilitation programs. With 3500 employees and more than 900 affiliated physicians, the healthcare provider is comprised of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers, nursing facilities, a satellite emergency department (SED), and specialized treatment programs.

Challenge: Battling the Symptoms of an Outdated PBX

Over the years, the client had progressively invested in new technologies— from wireless networks, to health information and EHR systems, as well as the IT infrastructure needed to support these initiatives. One area that had become outdated was their legacy phone system. The existing PBX was becoming unreliable, difficult to manage, and expensive to maintain. Staff frustrations were escalating due to inefficient communications tools and services. In addition, to be able to attract the most sought-after physicians and enhance patient care, improving collaboration and productivity was becoming an important priority. The healthcare provider’s IT team had identified a Cisco Unified Communications (UC) platform as the desired solution. But how does a medical center with a network of 24×7 facilities execute a telephony overhaul without disrupting the flow of communications and potentially impacting patient care?

Solution: Assessing the Best Course of Treatment

Aspire’s collaboration team proposed a UC design and migration strategy to establish and maintain interoperability between the legacy PBX and VoIP platforms over the duration of the project. The goal was to migrate sites to the new Cisco UC cluster in a phased approach. The design called for redundant CUBE routers and SIP integration between the service provider, PBX, and Cisco platform. This provided a highly available, flexible and feature-rich solution while migrating sites off the PBX to the Cisco solution. The client could easily port existing numbers while maintaining user features like CallerID and 4- and 5-digit dialing. At sites like the School of Nursing, where running new ethernet cabling was cost-prohibitive, Aspire installed analog voice gateways to allow legacy handsets to utilize call control leveraging the new VOIP infrastructure.

Results: Alleviating Old-System Symptoms

Today, the healthcare provider enjoys the agility and benefits of a redundant, resilient centralized Cisco UC platform supporting all their locations. Jabber provides instant messaging for quick and informal discussions, group chats, and video. Internal phone numbers follow physicians, technicians, and administrators wherever they have their laptop. The SED utilizes Unified Contact Center Express (UCCX) for call distribution and queuing. They now have a full featured contact center solution, riding on the same UC platform, that provides greater visibility for call volumes, resource requirements, and ultimately a better patient experience. With a solid communications foundation in place, the medical center is well-positioned to support future initiatives like telehealth and other digital healthcare innovations driving their organization into the 21st century.

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