Wavelink Blog

UC Solutions for Aging Patients Who Hate Auto Attendants

In the 1970s, answering machines were all the rage. We bought one for my grandparents so we could leave messages if they were at the river, on their boat or fishing.  By the 1980s, they were getting up in age. Operating the new speaker mode on the answering machine, without cutting me off, had really complicated things for them. For all the technological changes they experienced with telephony, the one they struggled with the most was the evolution of voice prompting systems, which predated the auto attendants we use, today. It turns out, my grandparents were not alone – and this struggle remains an issue for many older customers, especially in the healthcare industry.

According to Cullman Primary Care Multi-Specialty Group (CPC), many older people have a hard time listening to and following the automated menus. They have hearing loss that causes them to miss instructions and prompts; and they have sight problems that make it difficult to see the keypad on a phone. It’s not uncommon for older patients to get flustered from having to punch in a bunch of numbers and listen to multiple messages just to reach their doctor or nurse. Essentially, they get lost and confused in what seems like an endless loop of mechanical demands.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

CPC understood the frustration, and decided to reach out for assistance in finding a solution. Integrated Communications Solutions (ICS) is a Digium partner that specializes in providing medical industry professionals with everything from simple VoIP solutions to complex IT fixes. By implementing Digium’s Switchvox Unified Communications (UC) solution, they were able to centralize CPC’s multiple doctors’ offices and clinics operating throughout Cullman, Alabama, into a single hub at the primary medical center.

CPC no longer has to tell a caller to hang up and dial another number if they reach the wrong office for their doctor. They have also eliminated system overloads that disconnect a caller (when on hold) or leave them in an unanswerable loop. In the emergency medical field, that was not a good thing.

Switchvox reduced prior telephone costs by 40 percent for CPC, and allowed them to tackle some of the growing demands of the expanding medical center. They were also able to do further call customization, without investing in expensive upgrades common to proprietary phone systems, or sacrificing quality or technical support.

One of those call customizations was finding a proprietary workaround that gave all of their community-oriented patient care centers and doctors’ groups the ability to route patient calls, directly to their doctor. The routing occurs automatically, based on caller ID. This was especially useful for CPC’s elderly patients.

On the surface, this may seem standard practice in today’s IP environment, but thanks to the flexibility of Switchvox, all ICS had to do was add some special programming in the route table to force specific caller ID numbers directly into their doctor’s or nurse’s call queue, bypassing the auto attendant. Since numbers are commonly added and deleted on a frequent basis, the programming had to be simple and fluid. Due to the power of Switchvox, it was a unique request that was easily answered.

To learn more about how Cullman Primary Care is utilizing VoIP click here.

Peak Spectrum in Education

The growth in Wi-Fi consumption in Higher Education and K-12/primary schools is alarming.  Our schools are running out of spectrum, or air, to support wireless demand from students, teachers, faculty and guests.  In some ways, this reminds me of the energy crisis, or ‘Peak Oil’ as it was called not too long ago in the news.

For Wi-Fi, we see colleges, universities, school districts and libraries similarly challenged as the number of students, devices and bandwidth hungry applications continue to grow rapidly, demanding more and more air time to connect to the internet, local resources and other users – but there is no more spectrum to allocate to meet their needs.  Even the FCC has chimed in on this (http://recode.net/2014/02/21/growing-unlicensed-spectrum-growing-the-wireless-economy/).  Are we seeing “Peak Spectrum?”

Perhaps one way to face this challenge is continue to draw from the energy crisis.  What did the government and industry do to help America face an oil shortage?  Reduce highway traffic (encourage mass transit and rideshare) and increase fuel efficiency.  For Wi-Fi, this could mean controlling which users, devices and applications get on and off your network, when and where access is granted (or BYOD management) to reduce or segregate traffic, and a network-in-control architecture which enables single-channel layer deployment (using one RF channel instead of three to deploy seamless coverage).  This last point is especially important as many believe that by deploying Wi-Fi’s latest technology 802.11ac, (or Gigabit Wi-Fi) you can admit all of the devices your users can bring, with all of the high-bandwidth applications they can use.  However, to achieve Gigabit Wi-Fi, unlike 802.11n, you now have only 2 non-overlapping RF channels, which cannot be effectively deployed using a traditional multi-channel (1/6/11) design.  With single-channel design, Gigabit Wi-Fi can be delivered to users.

Some may view Meru’s solution as very different than legacy multi-channel solutions.  That’s true, to a point, similar to a Tesla vs. a Chevy.  Both are cars you drive down the road, but they operate differently under the hood.  But for schools like yours, looking to take a step forward, only Meru’s MobileFLEX architecture allows for ‘hybrid’ deployments, so you can deploy ‘gas’ or ‘electric’ as you see fit.  Hmmm… maybe a Prius?

Meru Offers Affordable 802.11ac Access Points

First-generation 802.11ac access points have been on the market for about a year, but most enterprises regard them as a luxury. Gigabit Wi-Fi can ease bandwidth and density problems, but it is expensive. Aside from being more costly than access points supporting legacy standards — like 802.11n — 802.11ac access points need more power than most installed Power over Ethernet networks can supply. Many IT organizations also lack the resources necessary to re-architect their wireless infrastructure.

Meru Networks have announced new budget-friendly 802.11ac-capable access points that could help drive Gigabit Wi-Fi adoption for cost-conscious businesses.

Visit Search Networking to view the whole article.

University of Huddersfield Revamps Wi-Fi with Meru Networks

Wi-Fi is increasingly becoming a ubiquitous service that web users want in every aspect of their lives.

Whether travelling to work on the train, taking a break in a coffee shop or even going to the pub after a long day, we all reach for our smartphones or tablets and want to log on to save on costly mobile data while surfing the web.

But with more and more people vying for space on crowded networks and many depending on connectivity for important aspects of their day, the technology behind Wi-Fi has had to evolve to offer the speedy access we need and expect.

Visit Computerweekly.com to view the whole article.

Rise Of Online Seniors

Australian health providers are starting to respond to the increasing number of tech-savvy seniors and their digital health expectations but there is still a huge gap between what consumers want and clinicians think their clients want.

That is according to Leigh Donoghue, managing director of Accenture’s health business in Australia, commenting on the results of a global survey Accenture released in Australia last week.

It found that 63 per cent of seniors were seeking digital options for managing their health and 77 per cent said online access to their health information was important, but just 17 per cent could access their records.

Visit Australian Ageing Agenda to view the whole article.

Meru Implementation of Software Defined Networking SDN

Meru’s VP of Engineering, Ajay Malik, on supporting SDN with northbound and southbound APIs to enable application-specific service level agreements and unified management of wired and wireless networks.

802.11ac Deployment – What IT Should Consider

Manish Rai, VP of corporate marketing at Meru, on what IT should consider when deciding whether to deploy 802.11ac.

Product Launch – 802.11ac (AP822 and AP122) and SDN Strategy

Meru announces the industry’s first 802.11ac wall plate access point, the AP122, a new general purpose access point, the AP822 and implementation of open standards-based SDN.

Wi-Fi Problems Dog Apple-Samsung Trial

There’s a new sign on the door to Courtroom 1 at the federal courthouse in San Jose, the home to the Apple v. Samsung battle that’s playing out this month: “Please turn off all cell phones.”

For a trial that centers on smartphones and the technology they use, it’s more than a little ironic. The entire case might not even be taking place if the market wasn’t so big and important, but the constant need for connectivity of everyone is causing problems in the court, hence the new sign.

The problems have centered on the system that displays the court reporter’s real-time transcription onto monitors on the desks of Judge Lucy Koh, the presiding judge in the case, and the lawyers of Apple and Samsung. The system, it seems, is connected via Wi-Fi and that connection keeps failing.

Visit Computer World to view the whole article.

Healthcare CIO Perspective on BYOD, Security Vendor Selection

In bringing new security technologies into a healthcare organization, from a CIO’s standpoint, there has to be the right mix of compatibility and alignment with internal policy. And in deciding which technologies and vendors would work best for the organization’s project needs, the CIO has to take a high-level view of both staff and infrastructure needs. That alignment is often easier said than done, but for Jeffrey Brown, Lawrence General Hospital CIO, the key is balance and preparation for all IT projects.

Visit HealthIT Security to view the whole article.