HealthEast Turns to Mitel for Epic Results
As the largest health care provider in St. Paul, MN, HealthEast Care System was struggling with an out-of-date contact center and communication solution. The health care organization is on a mission to enable patients and internal users to use a variety of communication channels, and to more easily access data needed to improve the interactions. As part of a larger strategy around solution delivery to its internal and external customers, HealthEast turned to Mitel for its communication needs.
With 7,500 employees, 850 physicians, four hospitals, one long-term and three short-term acute centers, plus 14 clinics and specialty clinics, Health East needed to improve the way it communicates with staff, physicians, nurses, and patients, while taking more control over its communication system.
Until recently, HealthEast was saddled with an outdated contact center solution that wasn't performing properly, and there were challenges with its design and feature/functionality. In addition, the organization wanted to be better able to access data from its Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, Epic. Historically data stored in EHRs is difficult to read/write to via third-party applications. This is especially the case for contact center and channel applications. This is not the case for HealthEast.
Visions of a Larger Strategy
As part of its overall strategy, HealthEast is building a Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) and using a range of Mitel solutions, including MiVoice, MiContact Center, MiCollab, Ignite, call recording, IVR, CTI, and more. Frustrated with the siloed nature of its previous system, HealthEast is using Mitel’s REST API toolkit to integrate HealthEast’s many healthcare systems and databases, including their EHR and “MyChart” application, into a single, easy-to-use interface and customer experience.
According to Lou Gallagher, Senior Director of Engineering and Architecture at HealthEast, “Our purchase of the Mitel contact center software was part of a larger strategy around solution delivery to our internal and external customers. Our strategy is to purchase solutions that will let us build an ecosystem for our internal and external customers for accessing data and using a variety of communication channels.” He added, “We’re building a services oriented architecture that utilizes services and partners, which will allow us to deliver cost effective, high value services to customers, both internal and external.” HealthEast is taking the role of delivering the last mile to consumers through Mulesoft’s Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and integrating its EHR health management database.
Through the ESB, Mitel’s Voice and IVR platforms collect and pass ANI and date of birth data to the EHR. Agents use the customer UI, called the “HELLO screen” short for HealthEast Locally Linked Operator screen, on their desktops, integrating data from the EHR and SharePoint with the Mitel Ignite client, providing a single user interface that streamlines the agent workflow. When receiving a call, agents get a screen pop and view information from the EHR database, including the patient history, who their physician is, etc. According to Gallagher, what’s unique about this is that, while the EHR database isn’t a completely open database, HealthEast can access the information from the EHR and multiple data sources using its ESB topology, and use this information to provide agents with the information they need to better serve patients.
Gallagher notes, “We’re putting together databases and applications, while giving the MiContact Center multichannel system a seat at the table, which most organizations can’t do. We can bring all these disparate technologies under one thought process and conversation, making it easier to get from point A to B.” Due to the siloed nature of their environment, HealthEast deployed a premises-based, fully redundant system in its two data centers, providing the high level of control required.
Helping Agent, Customers, and Patients
With the new Mitel MiContact Center multichannel system, HealthEast’s contact center agents can support blended agents and multiple channels, including voice, web, and chat, while providing more advanced IVR, data-directed routing, screen pop, call backs, end-to-end reporting, and more.
The benefits are impressive. While it is still early, HealthEast found:
- A 20% increase in agent productivity based on new design and technology
- A 6% decrease in Abandon Rates
- 39% to 86% increase in SLA’s
- Call volumes have dropped due to greater self-service usage and a more intuitive design
Gallagher notes, “It’s amazing how the agents accepted the technology. The workflow is much more intuitive, and we pop data when they need it so they don’t have to hunt and peck for it.”
On the patient side, recognizing that consumers want to be better able to manage their health care needs, HealthEast will conduct several outbound campaigns, beginning with appointment reminders and reminders for infant checkups. Based on the EHR data. the system will send out checkup reminders through SMS or voice, enabling customers to respond and set up appointments. The outbound campaigns will integrate real time data with actions, enabling patients to have more control over their health care. The system supports seven languages to meet the needs of the diverse local population, including Somali and Hmong. Noting that most health care organizations outsource the ability to do appointment reminders, Gallagher says, “We have control over how and when we communicate with internal and external customers that we never had before.”
Gallagher notes, “Our customers want us to communicate with them based on real-time data and be able to act upon the information. Mitel is the communication channel providing outbound communications, IVR, SMS, and other capabilities, enabling our customer to not just receive communication, but to be able to take action about the communication.” He added, “This lets the patient do something at that point in time, such as scheduling an appointment by responding to a text or pressing a button and automatically interacting with the system.”
In addition to patient appointment reminders, other applications leveraging these capabilities are being developed, such as nurse scheduling and staffing, enabling HealthEast to send out SMS notifications when they need nurses to fill in on short notice.
Using Mitel REST APIs, HealthEast connected its Mitel system to the organization’s ESB to enable more capabilities for users. The REST API integration enables ease of integration to the EHR software, and more control over the solution. For example, based on the REST APIs, contact center agents can use speed dial integrated with Active Directly to rapidly dial out to anyone in or outside of the company. Using Mitel’s MiCollab, contact center agents can quickly and easily connect with anyone in the company simply by clicking on their phone number and making the call.
Using the Enterprise Service Bus and APIs, HealthEast can develop a range of applications. Preview dialing is being integrated to the EHR for accounts receivable, as well as enabling customers to make payments using IVR, resulting in a 30-40% increase of productivity for accounts receivable. HealthEast is also currently working on integrating with their outside paging company to integrate with the Mitel system and enable secure messaging for doctors with the ability to page doctors when needed.
For the future, HealthEast is looking at what types of applications it can deploy to improve patient care. The company is also looking at using the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices, such as smart scales. For example, a doctor can be notified through an app on their mobile device when a patient with congestive heart failure gains weight, and can reach out to patient in the channel they prefer to inform them about the weight change and the danger it poses.
While other vendors told Gallagher that the integrations he wanted couldn’t be done, and they all offered a “one-size-fits-all” approach, he found that Mitel’s solution allowed him to truly design the ecosystem he sought. notes, “We’re focused on keeping our populations healthier for longer so they don't have to come into the hospital.” That’s what health care should be all about.