When AseraCare Hospice was separating from its parent company, the hospice care provider needed to update its legacy communications platform to support its mobile nursing team and 53 office locations in 19 states. AseraCare turned to the cloud to offer employees flexibility and improve support for hospice patients.
AseraCare's legacy on-premises system relied on local carriers to provide phone services. But local carriers can be unreliable, said Matt Dillman, IT supervisor at AseraCare, based in Fort Smith, Ark. The company decided to move its communications to RingCentral Inc.'s cloud communications platform.
AseraCare faced some unique challenges when rolling out a new communications system. As a provider of hospice services, patients are located in their homes, hospitals and nursing homes. Patients need to be able to reach the agency easily during business hours and its call center after hours.
Dillman recalled one patient who still used a rotary phone. AseraCare needed an interactive voice response service that could support rotatory phones if the patient called the after-hours answering service.
"When a patient needs to get in touch with us, they can't just push a button on the side of their bed," Dillman said. "They have to call, and we have to route those calls appropriately."
Reaping the benefits of the cloud
AseraCare had some concerns about moving its communications, including fax, to the cloud.
"It was challenging to put everything into the same basket -- if that basket breaks, then all your eggs are broken," he said. "But we were willing to take that chance."
For AseraCare, the benefits of migrating to RingCentral outweighed any potential risk. The transition to a cloud communications platform gave employees and call center agents flexibility and control they didn't have on the old system, such as setting call-forwarding rules remotely.
On the old system, if an office was closed for a holiday or inclement weather, someone had to go to the office to manually set phones to forward to the after-hours call center -- even if it meant trudging through several feet of snow.
AseraCare's RingCentral deployment also served as the basis for RingCentral's multisite capability, which supports the configuration and management of different office locations under one account.
Expanding cloud communications platform capabilities
AseraCare is still in the process of moving all its fax lines to RingCentral. Dillman said cloud-based fax resolved many of the issues the staff was experiencing with on-premises fax machines.
Dillman also hopes to move AseraCare's nursing staff to RingCentral's mobile platform. Some nurses currently use the RingCentral mobile app, which enables them to send faxes from their mobile devices and transfer calls within the RingCentral system.
"A lot of benefits come with it, but we're not there yet from an IT perspective," he said. AseraCare needs to address certain technical requirements first, such as syncing Active Directory, and justify certain costs before moving the nursing team to the mobile platform.