The patients of Neurology Group of Bergen County have access to a wide range of diagnostic, consultative, rehabilitative, and treatment services delivered by 19 adult and pediatric neurologists, extenders, and physical therapists. The group’s well-equipped office is fully computerized, using the latest in electronic medical record (EMR) technology and providing patients with a comprehensive portal. Until recently, however, the group had a 20-year-old phone system that did not support its high-tech operations and was increasingly difficult to maintain.
“It had gotten to the point where parts were almost impossible to find,” said Dave Contento, Practice Administrator, Neurology Group of Bergen County. “We were running the risk of having serious downtime as a result of having a major component fail.”
Neurology Group of Bergen County contacted an independent telecom consultant for help in identifying and vetting a new IP communications system. The consultant recommended that the group look at ShoreTel and Eastern DataComm as part of the evaluation process.
“We went through a very careful RFP process, conducting a number of interviews and getting specifications and cost factors from each vendor. We ended up selecting ShoreTel, which we thought was the best of breed,” Contento said. “It was the most progressive of all the platforms, something that would meet our needs now and into the foreseeable future. It was not the least expensive of all our choices but we were focused on the bigger picture.”
Eastern DataComm received high marks for service and its ability to be an effective resource and troubleshoot issues.
“Eastern DataComm’s engineers not only provide expertise but serve as the linkage between ShoreTel and our telecommunications providers,” said Contento. “Their team was good at bringing everyone together.”
Neurology Group of Bergen County looked at both onsite and cloud-based phone systems, but elected to go with an onsite solution. While the cloud is ideal for organizations with limited expertise, or those interested in a monthly operational expense vs capital expense, the group had the resources to manage an onsite platform.
“We’re a fairly large medical practice — we have just over 100 employees. We are running 12 servers right now, and have had an EMR system for seven years,” Contento said. “We have in-house technical staff and IT consultants, and felt that we could maintain an in-house solution. We’re comfortable having control of our own destiny.
“Perhaps at some point down the line we’ll consider the cloud option but we’re kind of ‘belt and suspenders’ here. We weren’t quite ready to go to the cloud.”
Eastern DataComm has extensive expertise in both onsite and cloud-based solutions, giving Neurology Group of Bergen County the flexibility to choose the deployment model that made the most sense.
“That was unique and it was great. We weren’t pushed in one direction or the other,” said Contento.
The Eastern DataComm team designed the ShoreTel platform to precisely meet the group’s business and operational needs. For example, the system is configured to automatically send out emergency notifications to specific individuals whenever someone dials 811.
“Because of the diseases that we treat, and as a freestanding medical practice, we sometimes have patients who need immediate medical assistance. When that happens, it’s critical that we get the staff we need to the right place at the right moment,” Contento said. “Anybody can dial 811 on any phone, and a notification will appear on the ShoreTel screen. We know where the notification is coming from so we can get someone there almost immediately.”
Platform for the Future
Because it is growing, Neurology Group of Bergen County needed a phone system that was flexible and scalable. The ShoreTel solution has a browser-based interface that makes moves, adds and changes easy. In addition, users can simply unplug their phones, move to a different location, then log in to access full system functionality.
The ShoreTel Communicator interface is also easy to use, and the group will be rolling out the ShoreTel Mobility app to a number of its doctors. With ShoreTel Mobility, users can access communication and collaboration features from any mobile device. In addition, when doctors are at the hospital vs. the office, they can use the hospital’s Wi-Fi instead of their cellular data, along with the ShoreTel mobility app to seamlessly communicate with staff.
“When we first implemented the ShoreTel Mobility app, we found that we needed a few more features that weren’t available at that time,” said Contento. “We sent a list of requests to ShoreTel — secure, HIPAA-compliant texting and date- and time-stamping of messages, for example. With regular updates, ShoreTel worked through that list and checked off every single item. That is to the credit of ShoreTel and to Eastern DataComm for helping us marshal the right resources to push it through.”
As the group continues to grow, Eastern DataComm remains dedicated to ensuring that the phone system meets its needs.
“We just relocated our diagnostic testing center and added a neuro rehabilitation program. As a result of that, it was necessary for us to add handsets in other locations in our facility. Eastern DataComm was able to come in and help us with that.”
A high-tech medical office with all the latest technology needs a modern IP phone system with industry-leading features. Thanks to Eastern DataComm and ShoreTel, Neurology Group of Bergen County now has a robust communications platform that will enhance its operations now and in the future.