Healthcare Facility Redesigns Infrastructure
For New Phone System

In order to better support their patients, a four location medical clinic needed to redesign their communications infrastructure including a deployment of a new telephone system.  The primary objective was to centralize call flow into a single call center for scheduling appointments and addressing care.  However, there were many challenges requiring attention to move forward.

Network Challenges

  • The four clinics were spread out over an area where telephone numbers could not be centralized utilizing current traditional telecom services.
  • Limited bandwidth was available between the clinics. There was also several carriers involved further complicated the current topology.
  • Since the current network had been deployed over ten years, the available documentation was deemed to be inaccurate.
  • With the implementation of the centralized call plan, a more reliable Business Continuity plan was required.
  • It was expected that additional clinics would be added over the next two years so network flexibility to support this expansion was required.

Operational Challenges

  • Although a grant was available to help with the CAPEX costs of the new telephone system, there were limited OPEX funds available for the telecommunications network.
  • The customer received over 40 telephone bills from various carriers. A manner to simplify these payments was requested.
  • Due to limited resources, the customer requested a manner in which incoming invoices could be validated for payment.
  • The customer expected to move to MS Office 365 so stable, secure connectivity was required to these resources.

Network Design

Understanding the operational and network objectives and challenges, Orion Communications explored several network solutions provided by multiple carriers.  After a thorough examination of the options, it was decided to move forward with the following network elements:

  • An Ethernet network between the four clinics.
  • A primary and secondary clinic were selected to serve as the primary resources for the enterprise.
  • SIP trunking was deployed at the two main clinics to provide primary and back up voice access to centralize call flow.
  • Internet access was implemented at these two clinics to provide dual access points for greater capacity and redundancy.
  • A network based Express Route connection was included to provide direct access from any clinic to MS Office 365 without dependency on any single clinic.

The network topology that was implemented is illustrated below.

healthcare-network

Project Outcomes

Network Services

  • The SIP trunking allowed the customer to centralize call flow to the call center at the primary clinic. As required, calls could be distributed to other departments utilizing the wide area network.  The dual SIP connection provided automatic overflow to the secondary site should the primary connection become unavailable or reach maximum capacity.  Overall, call flow capacity was increased by 300%.
  • The Ethernet data network provided any to any clinic connectivity and increased overall bandwidth to any clinic from 10 to 100 Mbps.
  • The dual 100 Mbps Internet connections provided greater capacity (20 Mbps to aggregate 200 Mbps) and included alternate access should the primary connection become unavailable.
  • As a result of a thorough review of all the telephone bills, it was determined 48 analog telephone lines could be eliminated.
  • A complete inventory of services enterprise wide was provided for future change management.

Operational Results

  • Once complete, considering all of the Network results, the overall monthly cost was reduced from $28,000 to $21,500 (23%).
  • Reviewing the current telephone bills, a one-time credit was generated for almost $100,000 for past over billing.
  • Monthly telephone bills were either eliminated or grouped to reduce invoices from 40 to 5. An online resource was implemented for four of the invoices to track billing tendencies and reduce overall payments each month to two.
  • Orion Communications provided one year of support services to monitor billing and approve payment during the transition between the current and new networks.
  • The new network provided ample capacity to prepare for the expected clinic expansions.

Overall, the customer was able to exceed the expectations of the network implementation.  Centralized call flow simplified the process of providing care to their patients while allowing the flexibility across the enterprise.  The unexpected network monthly savings and one-time carrier credit were utilized to accelerate other equipment upgrades previously budgeted for future years.  The other operational results including simplified billing saved the customer significant time and assured them that on-going monthly costs were accurate.