A healthy communications solution delivered at Gore Hospital, delighting staff and patients.
A health service provider in a remote region of New Zealand was struggling to maintain its ageing telephony system, and needed a new solution that was reliable, cost-effective to operate and easy to manage.
Telesmart Limited implemented a Mitel Unified Communications solution for Gore Health staff and patients, with SIP trunking over a managed fibre network.
- More cost-effective and reliable communications
- Ability to self-manage most aspects of the solution
- Enhanced internal communications across diverse services
- Five-year operational guarantee on complete solution
Setting up rural health provider with communications for the future
Gore Health supports a small town and surrounding rural district in Southland, the southern-most region in New Zealand. The 100-person organisation operates a 20-bed hospital, including a maternity unit, emergency department, and both inpatient and outpatient services. Gore Health also runs a general practitioner (GP) practice, a community health unit, a dental facility, and medical laboratory and imaging services.
Gore is more than 40 minutes from the nearest major hospital in Invercargill, and about two hours from significant IT services support in Dunedin, the second largest city on NZ’s South Island. With reliable communications a critical service for the hospital, Gore Health’s ageing TDM-based telephony system had become a major risk to the organisation. All programming and troubleshooting of the system had to be undertaken on-site, and the nearest available technical resources were in Dunedin, which made maintenance on the system both costly and time-consuming. In addition, Gore Health had no failover to other communications in case of an outage.
Faced with a major software upgrade to its legacy telephony system, Gore decided instead to invest the upgrade costs into a completely new voice over IP (VoIP) solution. A number of options were considered, with Gore deciding on a Mitel Unified Communications (UC) solution provided by Mitel partner Telesmart.
“The Mitel solution was cost-effective, and it really helped that we could manage most of the system ourselves,” said Fiona Marsh, Administration Manager, Gore Health.
“THE SHORETEL SOLUTION WAS COST-EFFECTIVE, AND IT REALLY HELPED THAT WE COULD MANAGE MOST OF THE SYSTEM OURSELVES.”
Fiona Marsh, Administration Manager
A Smooth Transition
The solution design, number plan and implementation was completed by Telesmart, providing Gore Health with a Mitel Unified Communications solution including work groups, audio conferencing, and voicemail integrated with each user’s Microsoft Outlook email account. The Mitel solution is running over a SIP service via a managed fibre network provided by Telesmart, with a disaster recovery solution diverting to mobile services, ensuring communications continuity in case of an outage.
The entire working solution was set up in parallel to Gore Health’s existing telephony, and the cutover was completed at 12 noon without a hitch.
“The whole cutover process to Mitel was very smooth, with no downtime. We had a couple of minor teething issues with voice quality that were quickly fixed. Telesmart put in a lot of time and effort to ensure everything would be operational immediately, and I don’t think anyone could have done it better,” said Marsh.
In addition to Mitel receptionist and desk phones, Gore Health has also deployed a number of cordless DECT phones and integrated existing analogue handsets for patient use. Using the Mitel Communicator desktop client, it’s now very easy for Gore’s staff to divert and transfer calls, set up rules for when they are out of the office or in meetings, and check on the presence status of colleagues.
“With separate businesses like our GP practice, in the past we couldn’t see if someone was on the phone – now we can check before transferring the call,” said Marsh.
Cost-effective and Easy to Manage
Gore Health can complete the majority of the system administration itself, with most of the more complex technical support and system upgrades able to be completed remotely. Switching over to a SIP-based fibre network has also saved the organisation significant ongoing telecommunications costs.
“It’s very straightforward for us to set up and assign extensions or new phones ourselves,” said Marsh. “We also no longer have to pay monthly rent for the six copper lines we had, and our call rates are now far more cost-effective.”
“THE WHOLE CUTOVER PROCESS TO SHORETEL WAS VERY SMOOTH, WITH NO DOWNTIME.”
Fiona Marsh, Administration Manager
Gore also has the peace-of-mind of a five-year guarantee and support agreement on its Mitel solution, including free software upgrades.
“Mitel’s technology gave us the opportunity to design Gore Health a fit-for-purpose, feature rich and self-managed UC solution. We’ve also ensured more integrated and resilient communications by taking on the management of Gore’s data and security environments,” said Matt Fox, National Account Director, Telesmart.
With a lot of its clinical staff needing to be readily available and in constant contact with the hospital, Gore Health is investigating Mitel’s Mobility solution. This extends UC functionality to users’ mobile devices, rather than just relying on call diversions. Gore also still relies on fax communications, with its fax machines currently operating as analogue devices. The organisation plans to switch to an integrated cloud fax solution that will interoperate both with its Mitel phones and users’ email clients.