Pediatrician Switches to 8x8 to Support Urgent Care Center
Dr. Angelique Andrews installed a new phone system to support her planned urgent care center. But after just a few weeks, serious problems with her phone service and auto attendant led her to replace the system with a hosted VoIP solution from 8x8.
Dr. Angelique Andrews is a pediatrician with a thriving practice in Huntsville, Alabama, called Healthy Adolescent Pediatric Physicians, Inc. (H.A.P.P.I.). Her office staff consists of three nurses, two nurse practitioners, two front office receptionists, and two clerical interns.
In early 2012, Dr. Andrews decided to expand her practice by opening an urgent care center for patients who needed to be seen the same day. Accommodating this planned expansion required two key technology upgrades: migration to electronic medical records and a new phone system with auto attendant capabilities.
With the urgent care center scheduled to open in July, Dr. Andrews and her IT consultant decided to install the new phone system well ahead of time. They considered purchasing from 8x8, but settled on a hosted VoIP solution from another service provider. The phones arrived in May, and that’s when the problems began.
Dr. Andrews and her IT consultant noticed the first issue right out of the box. Their new phones had been programmed with a California area code, which meant all the numbers had to be ported to local ones.
The porting process did not go quickly or smoothly. When parents called the main number for Dr. Andrews’ office, they heard a message stating that their pediatrician’s phone had been disconnected!
“The moms were frantic,” recalled Dr. Andrews. “Imagine having a sick child and not being able to reach the doctor! A parent who happened to have my cell phone number finally got through to me, and I contacted our service provider immediately. It took them two hours to figure out what was wrong, and even then they didn’t seem to understand how serious the situation was for my patients and their parents.”
The auto attendant was another problem. Dr. Andrews wanted parents to be able to call her main office number and then select whether to be routed to the new urgent care center, speak with a nurse, or leave a message.
But six weeks after the new phones were installed; the auto attendant still wasn’t working.
“It was something that just kept dragging on,” said Dr. Andrews. “We had problems recording and uploading the prompts, and problems configuring the call routing. Our service provider kept assuring me that they just needed a little more time. We went ahead and implemented our new electronic medical records system—a rollout we thought would be very challenging—and the auto attendant still wasn’t working by the time we finished!”
But the final straw for Dr. Andrews was a dropped call. Because all her phone extensions had to be reconfigured with
a new local area code, they did not work correctly. Often when she or her staff tried to transfer a call from one extension to another, the caller was disconnected. One Monday morning, Dr. Andrews received an important call from a fellow physician who was treating a patient in the hospital. A staff member tried to transfer the call to her—and it never got there.
“I was planning to give our service provider another day or two to fix things, but that was it for me,” said Dr. Andrews “I sat down and contacted 8x8.”
8x8 Hosted VoIP Delivers Right Away
On Monday afternoon, an 8x8 account executive contacted Dr. Andrews and assessed her needs. He told her 15 new phones would be arriving Wednesday morning.
Wednesday evening, Dr. Andrews, her office manager and IT consultant began installing the new phones. The IT consultant booked a room at a nearby hotel because he lives some distance away and anticipated a long night. But by 6:30 p.m., they had already completed the installation.
“We did the whole thing in about an hour,” recalled Dr. Andrews. “All we had to do was plug in the phones and enter the activation codes. It actually took longer to tear out the old phones than it did to install the new 8x8 ones.”
On Thursday, Dr. Andrews began setting up the auto attendant. Because her previous system had been so complex, she didn’t realize at first that she could easily record the voice prompts using her 8x8 phone.
“I would have saved myself some time if I had known that,” she said. “Luckily I called 8x8 tech support, and they talked me through it.
By Friday afternoon, the auto attendant was working.
“The difference between 8x8 and our previous service provider was amazing,” said Dr. Andrews. “Our first provider spent weeks just trying to get our phones to work right, and they never succeeded. 8x8 had our whole system up and running in just a few days!”
Easy System Administration Enables On-the-Spot Changes
On July 9, Dr. Andrews’ new urgent care center opened on schedule. The launch went smoothly, but the nurses noticed that calls to the urgent care center were also ringing at the front desk. Dr. Andrews quickly logged in to her 8x8 web account and saw that a ring group needed to be modified. She made the change herself on the spot and resolved the issue in less than two minutes.
“This is something I love about 8x8 hosted VoIP. It’s so easy to administer by myself. I can log in, see a complete picture of our setup, and make any tweaks I want without calling my IT consultant or 8x8 for support. Our previous system stored ring groups, the auto attendant and after-hours messages in separate places. Whenever I needed to make changes, I had to log in multiple times and remember multiple passwords.”
Bilingual Prompts Enhance Client Relationships
As a bilingual physician who serves many Spanish-speaking clients, Dr. Andrews was delighted to learn that the 8x8 auto attendant supports prompts in multiple languages. Not only can callers choose English or Spanish prompts, the system also notifies Dr. Andrews and her staff when a caller has selected Spanish, allowing them to answer the phone appropriately.
“I wasn’t even aware of this feature initially. 8x8 support showed me how to set it up. It’s a huge benefit to our practice because it makes Spanish speakers feel more welcome and comfortable. My staff loves this feature too because it ensures that only staff members who speak Spanish pick up those calls.”
English speakers have also given Dr. Andrews positive feedback on her new 8x8 phone system.
“They say it’s given our office a more professional image. They like that the auto attendant greetings and prompts let them know about the various the services we offer.”
In addition to recording bilingual prompts, Dr. Andrews uses her 8x8 phone to record informational messages in English and Spanish for callers on hold. The messages notify parents when vaccinations and health screenings are available, further enhancing outreach to parents.
8x8 Supports Healthy Growth
Although thrilled with the launch of her new urgent care center, Dr. Andrews doesn’t plan to stop there. She envisions a number of satellite locations for her practice in and around Huntsville that will all use the same phone number.
“With 8x8, I’m confident we have a phone system that can grow with us. Our 8x8 account executive and the 8x8 tech support team have come through every time. I know they’ll be there for us in the future.”
When asked to sum up her experience with 8x8, Dr. Andrews laughed. “I only have one regret: Why didn’t I contact you sooner!”