Georgian Bay General Hospital Case Study
Georgian Bay General Hospital keeps life-saving communication lines open with ShoreTel reliability and productivity
Legacy PBX discontinued service
When the manufacturer of GBGH’s previous phone system discontinued that solution, the hospital recognized the need to implement a new system before it started experiencing failures.
To continually achieve its high standards of excellence, GBGH places a very strong emphasis on quality improvement. That includes improvements in the quality of its business processes and the systems that enable and drive those processes. One of the systems most critical to GBGH’s processes and operations is its phone systems. With a legacy PBX on the brink of failure, it was time to explore other telephony options.
GBGH issued an RFP and ultimately narrowed its shortlist of potential phone systems down to three vendors. After evaluating the different solutions, the hospital decided on a ShoreTel Unified Communications (UC) Solution that included ShoreTel Communicator, ShoreTel Director, ShoreTel Voice Switches, ShoreTel IP Phones, and a Kirk wireless server with 50 IP handsets.
“We considered systems from Mitel, Cisco, and Avaya, but ShoreTel offered us a solution that would seamlessly carry our organization into the future,” says Jackie McLauchlin-Welch, director of communications and engagement for Georgian Bay General Hospital. “There were a number of factors that we considered as we looked at the different phone systems, but ultimately ShoreTel won out based on its reliability, redundancy, uptime, ease of administration, and end-user acceptance of the phones and the unified communications client.”
Administrative time and healthy savings
In addition to reliability, ease of administration was another deciding factor that caused GBGH to choose ShoreTel over competing solutions.
ShoreTel gave the hospital a comprehensive set of software tools to power and enhance its communication system, including voice-routing, automated attendant, advanced telephony features, unified messaging, call accounting, call reporting, and powerful workgroup routing capabilities. Additionally, the ShoreTel Director software provides the IT staff a web-based management interface that enables them to manage the phone system from anywhere on the network.
“ShoreTel gives us much better insight into our phone system than we’ve ever had before,” McLauchlin-Welch says. “At any time from a single screen we can see at a glance the health and performance status of all the critical pieces that make up our phone system. We can also run detailed reports that help us see how we can improve system utilization and performance.”
McLauchlin-Welch adds, “ShoreTel makes managing our phone system so easy. The plug-and-play intelligence of the software allows it to automatically recognize and configure all of the active IP phones on our network. And when we create new users, it will automatically assign extensions, mailboxes, and auto-attendant profiles. With all of our ongoing moves, additions, and changes to the system, we see ShoreTel saving our IT department significant time and money.”
To implement its ShoreTel phone system, GBGH turned to High Tech Communications, a full-service telecom integrator north of Toronto, Ontario. High Tech is a significant Canadian ShoreTel Gold Partner, providing service and support to a broad range of ShoreTel customers, including municipalities with multi-site deployments; multiple school boards as far north as Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins, Ontario; healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, freight forwarders, child welfare/ services, call centers, and a wide spectrum of business customers.
“THERE WERE A NUMBER OF FACTORS THAT WE CONSIDERED AS WE LOOKED AT THE DIFFERENT PHONE SYSTEMS, BUT ULTIMATELY SHORETEL WON OUT BASED ON ITS RELIABILITY, REDUNDANCY, UPTIME, EASE OF ADMINISTRATION, AND ENDUSER ACCEPTANCE OF THE PHONES AND THE UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS CLIENT.”
Director of Communications and Engagement
Georgian Bay General Hospital
High Tech used its expertise as an Authorized HP Dealer to assist GBGH staff with the integration of the ShoreTel phone system and the Kirk wireless telephones into the hospital’s Local Area Network.
“We were impressed with High Tech’s drive to satisfy us, which was evidenced each time we interfaced with our project manager, and installation technician,” says McLauchlin-Welch. “The High Tech team has exhibited great competency in installing and maintaining our new ShoreTel system. They have an excellent attention to detail, which allows them to ensure nothing is overlooked.
As a result, they made the deployment of the ShoreTel systems at both our Midland Hospital and Penetanguishene sites completely painless.”
Enhanced user efficiency
One of the most important factors that GBGH considered as it evaluated various phone systems was what impact the new system and its phones would have on its users and their productivity. The ShoreTel VoIP business phone system gives the hospital built-in UC capabilities that enhance the efficiency of all its users. Additionally, ShoreTel provided GBGH a wide range of phone types and functionality to choose from, including a variety of advanced multi-line phones for administrative staff, caregivers, and conference rooms to more basic phones for lobby areas and patient rooms.
“The ShoreTel phone system gives our people so much more functionality than our previous system,” McLauchlin-Welch says. “Our users love the features and added capabilities that ShoreTel’s UC client software gives them. And the system’s autoattendant feature has been great for enhancing the quality of our customer service by making sure callers get directed to the right areas immediately.”
Lower TCO, great ROI
The ongoing savings that ShoreTel delivers has also been a big bonus for GBGH. The way ShoreTel combines its VoIP business system with powerful UC tools enables it to deliver a lower total cost of ownership than competing solutions, a fact that GBGH greatly appreciates.
“Upgrading from a digital system to a VoIP phone system with ShoreTel has greatly lowered our operating expenses,” says McLauchlin-Welch. “We’ve recognized savings in so many different areas with our ShoreTel system. But as a hospital, the real return on investment for us is getting a phone system that will work right all the time, today and in the future. That’s the ROI we need and that’s the most important ROI that ShoreTel delivers.”
“WE’VE RECOGNIZED SAVINGS IN SO MANY DIFFERENT AREAS WITH OUR SHORETEL SYSTEM. BUT AS A HOSPITAL, THE REAL RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR US IS GETTING A PHONE SYSTEM THAT WILL WORK RIGHT ALL THE TIME, TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE.”
To ensure reliability of life-critical communications, Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) needed to replace its end-of-life phone system.
A highly scalable and flexible VoIP solution that included ShoreTel Voice Switches, ShoreTel IP Phones and ShoreTel communicator, ShoreTel Director, and a Kirk wireless server with
- Greater reliability and business continuity
- Lower operating expenses
- Simplified and reduced administration support
- Enhanced customer service and user productivity