Al Barker, Chief Information Officer of Neon Health Services Inc, is responsible for the smooth running of IT/Telephony within this Cleveland based organization. With an overall staff of 280 and a network of six health centers, Neon Healthcare offers accessible, comprehensive primary care services to the entire family, including Adult Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Practice, OB / GYN, Behavioral Health, Dental Optometry and Podiatry services.
“We were juggling a very large call volume for the system we had” says Neon CIO who goes on to describe the chaotic PABX situation. ”We were using the Inter-Tel Axxess Digital phone system that required you to have a cabinet and line and station cards located at each location. The only way to connect the systems was to install a T1/E1 cards at each location along with CSU/DSU equipment that would allow you to fractionalize a T1 and carve out a few bonded DSO’s and create what I called a poor boy network. This enabled you to dial a trunk code to reach a remote location, but did not allow you to dial an extension directly. Therefore you had to be transferred by a warm body or dial the desired extension by connecting to an IVR at the remote location. Configuration changes required you to be onsite. (no centralized console) Moving an extension required rewiring or extensive programming. Shall I continue…”
External calls were lost, inter-organisation phone traffic was laborious. It was clearly time to invest in a modern PABX system. The new setup needed to reflect the organisation’s dedication to its clients. NEON Health Services has been providing medical and dental services to the Cleveland area since 1967. This non profit organisation is a success story built over forty years because Neon has made access to healthcare a reality for all people. They did not want their commitment to this mission to be let down by the weakest link, the phone.
Al Barker was clear that the new setup would be an IP PABX system since this was clearly cost advantageous and packed more features than the traditional alternative. A Windows based system was also a pre-requisite feature for eventual integration with existing applications and ease of use through a central management console. When looking at the various products on the market, he also noted that many lock the user to specific IP vendors, which was something Al definitely did not wish to do. He did want to streamline the call distribution across the six locations and bring in the remote workers into the new telephony solution.
Why 3CX was the solution
Checking off the organisation’s requirements, Al Barker homed in on 3CX Phone System and after downloading the test version, he found that this product was a perfect fit for the following reasons:
- The framework of any proposed solution had to be first and foremost robust reliability. Neon Healthcare is essentially a care provider and this is mission critical. Neon conducted preliminary product testing that found 3CX tough and reliable.
- The high volume of calls coupled with the logistical complexity of these being handled across six different locations was also a specific requirement that 3CX had a proven track record in.
- Furthermore Neon Healthcare wished to integrate their stock of existing SIP phones in the new solution, which again 3CX could easily accommodate.
3CX Phone System was installed in February 2010 over 125 lines using a Patton 4960 VoIP gateway. Neon’s 280 staff currently includes 35 physicians, 10 dentists and a staff of Certified Nurse-Midwives as well as other support personnel. 3CX connects them with around 300 IP phones (Aastra, Cisco, Polycom and Linksys). The installation was smooth and according to Al Barker, ‘Using IIS and server 2003, installation was a breeze. Registering SIP trunks with the carrier was a challenge until 3CX support came to the rescue.”
The benefits as experienced by Neon
- Cost savings – Implementing 3CX has resulted in reduced line, maintenance and support costs. Neon is now managing and maintaining their own telephony system.
- Increased staff productivity – Unified messaging has allowed the Neon directors to stay connected when they are out of the office. This alone has increased their productivity significantly. The ability to create and monitor call queues has improved the productivity of their call center. The addition of a full featured Call Center in the upcoming release will only make it better.
- Increased mobility of staff – All key members of staff are able to stay in touch using the 3CXPhone and/or 3CX Assistant while away from the office. “The ability to monitor and respond on demand makes everyone wonder how we ever functioned without it.”
- Connection of remote branches and remote workers – Neon is now connected to their remote offices via dedicated circuits. Each health centre is on a different subnet and there have been no problems provisioning.
- Easy to manage – The fact that 3CX is Windows based was a key factor in Neon’s decision. It has enabled IT support to manage the system via the network or remotely. In this respect, Linux would have been a problem.
Looking out for the next 3CX release
Because Neon’s core business is very much dependent on its call center efficiency, the Chief Technical Officer is very interested in a particular call center feature being added to the next release of 3CX. He would like to see features present such as alerting a supervisor when certain thresholds are met, wait times in queue and the ability to login to unique queues.
Solid technical support from 3CX
Al Barker had an issue to resolve with a carrier while attempting to provision SIP trucks. On contacting 3CX technical support, he received a response that included an emergency WebEx to review their configuration for its accuracy. “A conference was then set up with me and the vendor. After a very short period of time the issue was resolved and I looked like a hero thanks to 3CX support.” Al Barker
“Our previous phone system was being blamed for the decline of our patient appointments which translated into a loss of revenue. The phone lines were maxed, calls were being dropped etc…. the installation of the 3CX communication system has transformed me to hero. Thanks 3CX!”