Location HQ in New London, New Hampshire
Industry Urgent Care Medical Facilities
An Overview CCMD sees increases in sales, customer satisfaction and a 30% ROI after deploying Evolve IP’s Cloud Connect bonding service and unified communications services. Eliminates dropped calls, data issues and provides business continuity for urgent care clinics.
Business Situation CCMD’s poor voice communications and data services were negatively impacting productivity, morale and sales. With the majority of their locations located in remote regions of the northeast, they were dependent upon public Internet for network and back-up. Even with multiple providers they were experiencing delays, disruptions and poor quality of service.
Solution Evolve IP provided a single hosted PBX/ACD platform across all locations, with “true” call center capabilities and inherent DR / Business Continuity
Situation In Northern New England, quaint, bucolic towns dot a rustic, mountainous landscape. Drive just a few miles outside of any city and you’re likely to spot more moose than medical facilities. And, while this sets a majestic scene, it doesn’t always make it easy for residents to get the care and medical treatment they need – especially during the winter months marked by roadclosing snowfalls. ClearChoiceMD (CCMD) has set out to change this, launching dozens of state-of-the-art urgent care facilities that now serve thousands of patients in towns spanning St. Albans, VT, Belmont, NH and Scarborough, ME.
As a start-up company, CCMD began making the usual investments and evaluations around infrastructure, employees, technology, and more. From day one, the company knew that it wanted most, if not all, of its technology resources to be delivered in the cloud in order to leverage the well-known economies of unlimited scalability, flexibility and innovation.
For voice and data, CCMD initially worked with a provider that could not deliver the quality of service CCMD demanded due, in part, to their reliance on public internet delivery. Even with an additional failover system through another provider, CCMD callers would experience significant delays, disruptions or get dropped altogether when there was any kind of internet service interruption.
The quality of service suffered significantly, as did data speeds,” said Alex Fuchs, IT Director for CCMD. “Since the bulk of our computing infrastructure is centrally located, consistent bandwidth delivery is paramount to reliability. Conventional bonding and failover methodologies simply weren’t compatible with the internet service providers that serve our rural locales.”
Evolve IP’s recently launched Cloud Connect network bonding service offered hope. Cloud Connect brings all of a company’s various network connections together in the cloud, while monitoring all traffic to ensure lines are healthy and uptime is optimized. Internet connections of all types, providers, speeds, and latencies can be bonded. Cloud Connect makes available the total combined bandwidth of all connections – DSL, cable, fiber, fixed or mobile wireless, and T1 – and compresses traffic to increase the aggregate throughput by up to five times. Customers can select the most appropriate and available bandwidth for each location rather than defaulting to an expensive T1, for example, in hard-to-reach areas where many of CCMD’s clinics are located.
After careful consideration, CCMD selected Evolve IP for voice services at its clinics, “Evolve IP offered a brilliant, unique solution to our problem with the Cloud Connect bonding service. Cloud Connect meshes all of our smaller ISP lines together to create one super, high-performance connection. The solution also promised dramatically improved reliability on the data side – where we once had connectivity issues sending e-prescriptions direct to pharmacies, for example, now there are none,” explained Fuchs.
Operating in the highly regulated industry of healthcare, CCMD was also attracted to Evolve IP for its HIPAA-compliant data center since CCMD data would also be transmitted through Cloud Connect. HIPAA is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and requires companies to protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information. No other vendor offered this key attribute.
After installing the new bonding device across all of CCMD’s urgent care facilities, connectivity instantly went from frustratingly erratic to faultless. Prior, CCMD experienced frequent outages, sometimes for four hours at a time. “Now, we enjoy uninterrupted service,” Fuchs added. “With Cloud Connect, we have eliminated intermittent phone and internet service drops, increased the reliability of daily business tasks like writing e-prescriptions. We’ve even resolved printing issues. We have zero down time now as a result of connectivity because we’re always up and running.”
“With Cloud Connect, we have eliminated intermittent phone and internet service drops, increased the reliability of daily business tasks like writing e-prescriptions. We’ve even resolved printing issues. We have zero down time now as a result of connectivity because we’re always up and running.”
Alex Fuchs IT Director for CCMD
Patient Service Levels Skyrocket, Employee Productivity Soars CCMD invested to make the initial switch to Evolve IP voice services, but are already reaping 30% return on the investment in terms of improved productivity and service levels. According to Fuchs, the company had been spending at least 20 hours per week, the equivalent of one part-time employee, just to manage service outages. Management was distracted from more strategic activities like building the business – mission-critical, especially for this rapidly growing start-up. “The switch to Cloud Connect is a dramatic cost and time savings for me…and the rest of our team.” said Fuchs.
In addition, CCMD is saving time for patients, resulting in a more positive experience that not only helps retain customers, but also attracts new business. Post-visit surveys attest to these improvements as do recent jumps in patient volume across all urgent care facilities. Healthcare professionals at the clinics, who had repeatedly voiced their frustration over past connectivity problems, are now enjoying a more efficient work life. For example, in the past, staff was forced to temporarily use paper charts and scripts with every service disruption, which more than doubled their workload. Since moving to Evolve IP, not a single location has resorted to paper – everything is handled electronically for increased productivity. Complaints have stopped, too…ensuring top-notch physicians remain and continue to provide quality care to area residents.
“The best thing is for me to hear nothing from our urgent care clinics,” smiled Fuchs. “I used to have weekly calls with each clinic over service concerns. With Evolve IP, I have none of that anymore. No more putting out fires.”
What about Quality of Service (QOS)? Traditionally, to ensure connectivity, companies have had to choose between slow, unreliable, inexpensive broadband Internet and costly leased lines. Neither option was perfect. With Evolve IP Cloud Connect, companies gain reliable voice service at a reasonable price without sacrificing quality.
Packet by packet, Cloud Connect streams data without disruption by ensuring instantaneous stateful failover so if one line goes down, the other one knows the state of the sessions and can continue to run without having to restart or re-establish new connections. This is key. Unlike other network bonding mechanisms that stream data session by session, Cloud Connect streams data on the ‘packet’ level – a finer, more diminutive breakdown – to detect a failed connection instantly and remove it from the bond. The installed Cloud Connect device intelligently selects new paths and immediately re-routes data when it identifies network degradation or outages. This means voice calls don’t drop, virtual desktop sessions aren’t interrupted, and data backups remain current.
“Even compared to enterprise-grade systems, Evolve IP provides the highest QoS by far, bar none. We have not experienced any issues concerning voice quality which is in stark contrast with any other system we have used. All of the quality components contribute but Cloud Connect brings them together to ensure voice quality,” said Fuchs.
Just days after implementing Evolve IP’s solution at a New Hampshire location, CCMD unknowingly put the new technology to the test. Fuchs described the event: “There was a major car accident near our Portsmouth clinic, and instantly, the Evolve IP device initiated failover. It was seamless. Staff remained on the phone the whole time and no one noticed a single blip – voice services remained steady.”
Business Continuity (BC) In the Cloud to Maintain Critical Patient Services Without the right plans in place, IT disasters can dramatically impact a business – in fact, an Evolve IP survey of over 1,000 businesses showed that of those that had experienced an IT disaster, over half were down for more than a day. Of course this translates into lost revenue but also – in the case of CCMD – can mean a patient doesn’t get the care they need when they need it. That’s why CCMD is working towards an advanced business continuity plan.
In just the 12 months since the business launched, CCMD has already been thrust into BC situations. Due to snowstorms and ice, CCMD had to close a few clinics, impossible to access with two-feet of snow on the ground. Now, however, with Evolve IP’s advanced unified communications services, CCMD is enacting strategic business continuity plans and leveraging Evolve features to set up automatic call re-routing and other contingencies in the event of a clinic closing unexpectedly.
Additionally, CCMD will be leveraging the Evolve IP OneCloudTM to protect its data by deploying disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). Evolve IP provides near real-time RPO (recovery point objectives) – meaning, customers like CCMD recover systems exactly from the point in time when the incident occurred so nothing is lost and can access it in minutes. Staff just point and click or make a call, saving man hours and preventing major financial losses.
“It’s a huge advantage to us that Evolve IP also offers Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) in addition to voice and data services delivered in the cloud,” noted Fuchs. “It’s important to have a trusted source for all and more efficient for a smaller operation like ours to have multiple business services from a single vendor.”
As CCMD continues to deliver crucial medical care and high-quality customer service to the rural residents throughout Northern New England, it will likewise continue its incredible growth rate. With Cloud Connect, CCMD can open new offices quickly without worrying about technology voice and data infrastructure services. The cloud allows companies to grow and scale quickly. More important, Evolve IP enables CCMD to provide the high level of service to its patients – the ultimate key to future growth.
“Literally, Evolve IP’s voice and cloud services have saved our business, plus provided the technology launch pad to catapult us even higher,” concluded Fuchs.