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CarePoint Health dials up Skype for Business to streamline communications

By Microsoft on January 18, 2017

Filed under Health

Care teams and administrators at CarePoint Health have a lot to talk about—and now they can, more easily than ever before. Smarter voice technology is helping CarePoint reinvent how their hospital facilities communicate with each other and the communities they serve. By incorporating cloud-based voice conferencing capabilities into their communications strategy, CarePoint Health has undergone a digital transformation that is boosting their employees’ efficiency and collaboration.

Rising costs and commuter crisis

At few points in history has healthcare been as costly and complicated as it is today. Growing premiums, evolving policies, and shrinking reimbursements mean staying at the forefront of compliance requirements, treatment options, and technology solutions is becoming more difficult every day. The tightening financial demands facing care providers across the country have been acutely felt in Hudson County New Jersey, where over the past ten years, three of the area’s major hospitals—Bayonne Medical Center, Christ Hospital, and Hoboken University Medical Center—have been forced into bankruptcy.

CarePoint Health stepped into the gap to rebuild Hudson County’s failing health care system, acquiring the three facilities and their roughly 4,000 employees to better serve the area’s 674,000-plus residents, 31% of whom are seniors and children. To best provide for their patients, CarePoint CTO Lev Goronshteyn recognized that the care network needed to start by rebuilding the organization’s infrastructure.

“CarePoint Health’s legacy hospitals never had up to date infrastructure or communication platforms,” Goronshteyn explains. “We had servers that had been running for twenty years. We had a phone system that had been installed in 1989.”

As the CTO of CarePoint Health, Lev Goronshteyn oversees the IT infrastructure, networks, telecommunication systems, and other key applications across all three hospitals. Until recently, CarePoint hospitals’ outdated telecommunication system was built on existing on-premises infrastructure. Each location operated on its own system, with completely unrelated organization methods and processes. This meant no united employee directory and drastically different experiences from campus to campus.

After years of sluggish operations and communication, Goronshteyn recognized the need for change.

Plug-and-play IT

CarePoint’s efforts saw the organization unify its network-wide IT infrastructure in the cloud. The move eliminated their on-premises servers and created an organization-wide active directory for both communication and security purposes. These tools integrate into their existing Office 365 services for instant collaboration and operate on individual plug-and-play licenses for easy scalability.

Amid the excitement around these new cloud-based tools, it was their adoption of Skype for Business that initiated the greatest cultural change.

“It’s all unified, it’s not a dispersed product,” Goronshteyn explains. “Other products are focusing on just video conferencing or file sharing; this is a total solution for an enterprise. We didn’t have to stand up on-prem servers. We didn’t have to do much in order to get the solution running. We just had to use it and migrate our users toward it.”

Saving time and saving lives

Until recently, care teams and administrators relied on third-party conference calling services that had become increasingly unreliable as their needs grew. The deteriorating situation forced CarePoint doctors and network leadership to join Hudson County’s 169,000+ commuters to travel between locations for a variety of meetings, check-ins, and conferences daily. These simple three to four-mile commutes were half-hour headaches on a good day and transformed into hour-long lock-ups with the slightest hint of traffic. It was common for many hospital executives to spend hours each day commuting across a four-mile radius.

Goronshteyn explains, “Our executives were always traveling between sites. Now, instead of traveling between each location, our senior leadership can save two to three hours per day.”

Skype for Business allows hospital executives to directly message their colleagues, call in for video or voice conferencing, and share their desktop from one building to another, rather than having to travel across facilities for conferences or presentations. These communications upgrades save CarePoint’s top decision makers two to three hours every day in commute time.

In hindsight, the benefits appear obvious, but healthcare organizations have been slow to adopt new technologies. New initiatives like the one at CarePoint require planning and a shift in cultural mindset to succeed.

“If it makes [doctors] run even a second slower they’re always not going to like it,” Goronshteyn says. “They’ll say, ‘It’s slowing me down, it’s not helpful, and I need something faster.’”

Lev explains that it’s by demonstrating the value of new tools like Skype for Business that organizations can implement sustainable change. “If you show [users] the right way to use these technologies and show them how this will improve their life, how this will make tasks faster, more efficient, then it’s a lot easier for them to say, ‘I want to learn this suite of products.’”

Driving digital transformation

Moving forward, CarePoint Health hopes to explore new innovations including a full Cloud PBX voice transformation, a move that not only would allow them to better communicate with their coworkers and patients but would also make them one of the first healthcare providers worldwide to adopt a fully cloud-hosted communication system.“It’s been a drastic change, but a positive one,” Goronshteyn says. “At the end of the day we need to improve our employees’ lives, not just our executives’. Doctors and nurses who then drive patient satisfaction — when you help a doctor you’re really helping a patient. You give them back an hour of their day, that equates to another hour they can give to a patient.”

“It’s been a drastic change, but a positive one,” Goronshteyn says. “At the end of the day we need to improve our employees’ lives, not just our executives’. Doctors and nurses who then drive patient satisfaction — when you help a doctor you’re really helping a patient. You give them back an hour of their day, that equates to another hour they can give to a patient.”We’re happy to join CarePoint Health in their mission to make Hudson County a healthier place.

We’re happy to join CarePoint Health in their mission to make Hudson County a healthier place.

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