Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is deploying a new unified communications system to lower telephony costs and improve collaboration among staff.
A five year agreement with Unify, formerly Siemens Enterprise Communications, is set to provide a full unified communications (UC) suite, including web collaboration, mobile conferencing and presence technology, rapid-response alarm capabilities, and a host of other productivity tools to all 2,000 staff.
Currently, administrative staff are required to work from a permanent desk. In contrast, clinical staff are more mobile, some with a mobile phone and a desk phone, as well as short and long range pagers, meaning they have different levels of accessibility and coverage dependent on location.
This inconsistency across multiple devices has on occasions affected operations and meant communications could be difficult to co-ordinate, said the trust.
Following implementation of the UC system, staff at Luton & Dunstable will be contactable at any location through a single number, greatly increasing efficiency by removing barriers to connectivity that was previously in place from the multiple devices used.
This benefit extends to patients and other callers who may wish to speak with a specific clinician – these calls and queries can now be quickly forwarded to the correct person or message box.
Alongside the "one number service", Luton & Dunstable will also benefit from Unify’s OpenScape UC presence technology. This will allow staff to identify which members of a department are available to handle an incoming request, and intelligently route calls to these members of staff, without troubling other workers who are otherwise engaged.
In addition, mobile collaboration and response is achieved via the OpenScape Office Mobility suite, which enables employees to stay connected and update their presence regardless of device.
OpenScape Alarm Response software will compliment this system, and will be used to bring critical information to the right people instantaneously via multiple devices to help them handle any emergency situation, the trust said.
To help smooth the transition, Unify will manage a "UC ambassador programme". The programme looks to train "power-users" within the workforce, who can then spread this knowledge organically throughout the organisation - designed to be an efficient solution to an otherwise time-consuming user training process
Mark England, director of IM&T at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said, “The way in which we want and expect communications to work has moved on a long way since our current TDM system was installed.
"Using unified communications and IP telephony technologies, we expect to lower our operating costs and increase the overall efficiency of the trust."