The Client. St. Elizabeth Physicians (SEP) is the multi-specialty physician organization of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, one of the oldest, largest, and most respected medical providers in the Greater Cincinnati area. SEP was formed through the merger of two large health care providers and runs 82 locations – including some in Kentucky and Indiana – with 290 doctors.
The Challenge. With so many satellite offices, SEP was using a number of different types of phone systems that came with different contracts. Mark Hoover, SEP's IT director, knew there had to be a better approach that would not only cut costs but improve patients' calling access.
The Solution. SEP needed a thorough telecom audit to determine what existed at each location within the group’s network. So, the organization teamed with Advanced Technology Consulting (ATC), of Mason, Ohio.
“The business case for engaging with ATC was clear," said Glenn A. Loomis, CEO of SEP. "We needed a more comprehensive strategy when evaluating our phone system and our voice, data and Internet services. ATC swiftly identified areas of opportunity."
Over the course of some months, as part of a two-year contract, ATC visited every site, reviewing every telecom contract and network-related component including lines, cabling, demarcation points, handsets, local service, long-distance service and data/Internet service.
Two key discoveries were as follows:
- NEC phone systems, the backbone of the SEP network, comprised only 20 percent of the phones in SEP's offices – the other 80 percent, acquired through M&A, came from a variety of other manufacturers.
- Of the existing NEC gear, 86 percent was reaching end of life – finding parts and getting technical support was going to be difficult.
Once the auditing process was complete, ATC kicked off the project's next phase by surveying all 1,200 SEP employees. The consultancy wanted to conduct a business-needs analysis so it could make the right recommendations for the entire organization. Once the survey was complete, ATC and SEP sent out proposal requests to vendors and had them provide on-site demonstrations.
Ultimately, SEP and ATC chose West IP Communications for its hosted, unified platform. From there, ATC worked on an aggressive six-month deployment timeline that included upgrading each SEP location to fiber connectivity for increased network speed and the ability to accommodate more bandwidth as future needs required.