Delmont Private Hospital Case Study
Melbourne-based private hospital undergoes complete redevelopment and improves its communications and operational efficiencies.
Delmont Private Hospital takes a health check with ShoreTel
Delmont Private Hospital (‘Delmont’) is an independently owned psychiatric facility in the city of Melbourne. The fully-accredited, 88-bed
specialist hospital has been operating for more than 30 years and offers a broad range of services within both inpatient and day programs, including drug and alcohol, aged, and general psychiatry. Delmont’s treatment regimes are complete and holistic, including art therapy, exercise programs, and educational sessions in either group or individual settings.
Delmont has approximately 120 specialist psychiatrists accredited with the hospital and two consulting suites with over 35 psychiatrists
consulting in their own practice on site.
Delmont recently completed a major 12 month hospital expansion with the facility more than doubling in size. However, its existing analog PABX system was unable to be upgraded to support the projected growth. Delmont used the refurbishment as an opportunity to move to IP telephony to improve its communications capabilities.
Seeking out a solution
“We had a clear set of requirements for a solution. We needed all the current features we had with our legacy PABX, plus the ability to support future growth, integration with our current environment, external patient voicemail and call reporting for our various business units. From a cost perspective, we evaluated solutions based on implementation costs, call routing cost reductions, and overall total cost of ownership,” said Anna Sarkady, IT Coordinator, Delmont Private Hospital.
Delmont considered a range of solutions including ShoreTel, Cisco and Avaya. Both Cisco and Avaya were deemed to be cost prohibitive and too complex, while ShoreTel provided the best balance of both cost and ease of use.
“We decided on ShoreTel based on total cost of ownership, ease of use and the flexibility of the integration with Delmont’s existing communications and services.” said Sarkady.
Delmont was looking for a solution that integrated with its bespoke hospital systems, including its overhead paging and announcement systems, and emergency notification solution – two really critical services for a psychiatric hospital.
“The hospital really valued simplicity and ease of management – its focus is on providing healthcare, not IT services,” added Sarkady.
“WITH CLICK-TOCALL AND PRESENCE INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO OUR STAFF, THE SHORETEL SYSTEM HAS IMPROVED THE SPEED AND EASE OF COMMUNICATIONS.”
Anna Sarkady, IT Coordinator
Delmont Private Hospital
A flexible, integrated system
The ShoreTel solution had a number of unique challenges to overcome.
First, the existing hospital environment had been refurbished but, due to the nature of its existing infrastructure, Delmont had to retain its analog cabling and telephony extensions whilst the new building was deployed as a complete IP-enabled environment. That meant the solution had to work seamlessly across both analog and IP systems and integrate with a number of the hospital’s existing internal systems. All staff and patients in the new hospital wing were to be provided with IP telephony, while patients in the refurbished wing had to retain analog extensions.
“WE DECIDED ON SHORETEL BASED ON THE PROJECTED TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP, EASE OF USE AND FLEXIBILITY OF THE INTEGRATION WITH DELMONT’S EXISTING COMMUNICATIONS AND SERVICES.”
Second, Delmont is a 24-hour operational hospital, so the deployment had to be a “live implementation” - in other words, cut over had to be completed whilst the hospital was still fully operational.
Third, a number of buildings, such as the consulting suites, are geographically separate, so the new solution had to be designed to be fully functional across multi-point laser local area network (LAN) links.
Fourth, in addition to the requirement to give patients access to make free local calls, the hospital wanted to provide patients with the ability to dial both mobile and STD calls, and to charge the service at a fixed daily rate.
“A patient’s ability to stay in contact with friends and family during hospital stays is an important component their success during treatment,” said Sarkady.
A ShoreTel Unified Communications solution was implemented to more than 300 extensions which included dedicated Duvoice Patient Voicemail and Guest Messaging; emergency notification for code black, brown and red emergencies; and workgroup - call centre capabilities for consulting suites and hot desking. The system also includes SIP trunking with AudioCodes ESBC with ISDN Failover.
“With click-to-call and presence information available to our staff, the ShoreTel system has improved our speed and ease of communications – we no longer have to memorise extensions and phone numbers,” said Sarkady.
“ShoreTel has also improved communications between our staff and patients by ensuring we are more readily contactable.”
Delmont’s consulting suites receive a high volume of calls every day, and the staff in the suites can now assign calls – which are often urgent – to other parts of the hospital during peak calling periods.
“Our consulting suites business is able to serve its customers better than before, as we are able to dynamically change our staff resources to deal with customers. Calls can easily be picked up from back office leaving front reception to deal with face-to-face enquiries, and sensitive conversations can take place in private, away from our reception areas,” said Sarkady.
“Queuing calls on the ShoreTel system has enabled better management of incoming phone calls – clients no longer have to wait listening to an endless ring tone until a call is picked up. We can also assess waiting times which has helped staff to improve phone handling techniques.”
“Also, ShoreTel’s reporting capabilities allow us to track call flow and line usage, particularly in our consulting suites business. This ensures we are servicing our customers better and more efficiently.”
After the initial implementation, Delmont added a number of features to the system, including the installation of a GSM gateway and SIP trunks to enable patients to make mobile and STD calls at a daily flat rate. By assigning patients to specific groups in the system, Delmont can monitor and generate reports on calls made, ensuring that the service provided stays both cost-effective and convenient for patients.
“QUEUING CALLS ON THE SHORETEL SYSTEM HAS ENABLED BETTER MANAGEMENT OF INCOMING PHONE CALLS.”
“Cost savings have also been identified in the ability to remove lines that are no longer used. We have improved call routing enabling us to deploy resources to where they are needed most,” said Sarkady.
Completing a live implementation
Given the hospital operates 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, the biggest challenge was making the system go live while the hospital was fully operational. This included relocating a physical service from Telstra to another part of the building.
“The cut-over was successful from the old system to the new ShoreTel environment with no loss of functionality at all – which was a credit to ShoreTel,” said Sarkady.
After implementation, Delmont’s 24-hour business also created another challenge.
“Staff training and adjusting to operational change are always the biggest hurdles when implementing a major change within a hospital,” said Sarkady. “We found the best way to address this was to introduce shorter and more frequent refresher training sessions to reinforce the system functionality and ensure all staff were comfortable with the new features.”
“SHORETEL’S REPORTING CAPABILITIES ALLOW US TO TRACK CALL FLOW AND LINE USAGE, PARTICULARLY IN OUR CONSULTING SUITES BUSINESS.”
Delmont’s biggest challenge was finding suitable times for staff to attend training sessions. Early morning and evening suited best to ensure all staff operating on different shifts across the hospital received the training they needed to become proficient in the use of the new system.
A feature of the ShoreTel system is Delmont’s ability to add functionality incrementally as the need arises or new technologies emerge. It’s this flexibility that stood out for Delmont when they originally made the decision to deploy ShoreTel, and one that is reaping rewards for the hospital.
“We are always open to looking at ways to improve our internal and external communications. We often look to recommendations – if any valuable add-on features to existing systems are available and recommended, we are always happy to consider them,” concluded Sarkady.
With a major expansion planned, Delmont required a new telephony system as its existing PABX was unable to meet the demands of expected growth or the hospital’s future communications needs.
ShoreTel Unified Communications with SIP trunking for more than 300 extensions, including patient voicemail and guest messaging, an emergency notification system, and workgroups with call centre capabilities for consulting suites and hot desking.
- Improved communication between staff, patients and their families.
- New call reporting and monitoring improved customer service.
- Cost savings through more efficient communications and call routing.
- System flexibility and scalability to meet future growth expectations.
- Ability to provide patients with a daily flat rate for all mobile and STD calls.