During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Benito Menni Healthcare Complex had to use the Cloud environment to manage its calls. As this experience turned out to be positive it was afterwards decided to change from a VoIP infrastructure to a virtual Private Branch Exchange in the Cloud. The Benito Menni Healthcare Complex has 472 telephone extensions, at 9 centres, each of which had an exchange managed by VoIP (9 exchanges in total). After conducting a preliminary study of costs and security, a decision was taken to migrate to the Cloud in several phases, starting with a pilot trial in February 2022 at the Community Rehabilitation Service in Granollers. This trial proved satisfactory and the system was gradually implemented at the other centres with a view to managing all calls through a single exchange in the Cloud.
The Benito Menni Mental Healthcare Complex is a group of healthcare centres that belongs to the Sisters Hospitallers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was established by agreement with the Government of Catalonia. It comprises a series of professionals, services and care mechanisms that work to promote the health and comprehensive social care of people who suffer from mental illness. Its main objective is to offer comprehensive, quality health and social care to everyone who suffers from mental illnesses or who needs social healthcare and social assistance.
The Benito Menni Healthcare Complex has 472 telephone extensions, at 9 centres, and a single switchboard managed by VoIP (9 exchanges in total). This infrastructure, which was installed from 2014 to 2015, has hardware in each centre, a physical exchange and a digital media converter, which guarantees that, should the centre lose connectivity because the MacroLan is down, the centre may make and receive calls using the telephone lines.
In normal circumstances, incoming calls enter on the telephone lines, with a maximum of 16 (2*8 ISDN) incoming calls to hospital and 4 incoming calls to each centre (2*2ISDN), and a total of 52 simultaneous incoming calls.
Outgoing calls are made online, with an unlimited number of calls. Incoming calls are managed on copper lines, with a limited number of 4 calls per exchange. They have 40 ISDN and PSTN fixed lines and 59 DDI lines (virtual numbers).
The management of outgoing calls was not problematic, as the number of calls was unlimited. Incoming calls, however, were limited to 4 (one call answered + three on hold). The channel system for incoming calls was maintained to protect against system failure.
Details of the volume of incoming calls handled annually by Benito Menni are shown below.
CSMA/CAS Granollers 49780 52526
CSMA/CASHOSP 33075 35972
CSMACASSBOI 24080 34615
Hospitalization 81413 88783
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Benito Menni Healthcare Complex needed to use the Cloud environment to manage its calls. As this experience turned out to be positive it was afterwards decided to change from a VoIP infrastructure to a virtual Private Branch Exchange in the Cloud.
The change to a Cloud environment was required because of the need to update the hardware exchanges, Movistar’s future elimination of copper lines, cost improvements and encouragement of greater flexibility and adaptability at the workplace.
To undertake the project and switch all land line and ISDN telephones to a single exchange in the Cloud, a pilot test was run at the new Subacute care service in Granollers. The system was then gradually implemented at the other Benito Menni centres.
In the pilot test, only the coordinator of the Granollers Community Rehabilitation Service was informed. A technician later performed the switch. The aim was for the switch to occur without users perceiving any change. Management of calls remained the same and no complaints were received from users. After the success of this experience, a decision was made to implement the system at the other Benito Menni centres with a view to managing them all from a single branch exchange in the Cloud.
With this change of model, the same functions have been maintained, albeit at a lower annual fixed cost, with greater flexibility in adapting to the organization’s overall incoming volume of calls and in preparing the off-site voice service using traditional telephones, mobiles or softphones.
This all-in-cloud model means greater dependence on headquarters’ connectivity, as a lack of internet access would mean phones would stop working. A contingency plan based on 4G connectivity has, however, been proposed so that calls from the most-used number are directed to a mobile at the centre and outgoing calls can be made by configuring the extension on corporate or private mobile phones, which was the procedure followed during Covid-19.
The project was implemented in the following phases:
SRCGranollers: February 2022 (pilot trial)
CAS Granollers (Drug dependence care and follow-up) March 2022
Acute and Subacute care Granollers General Hospital: March 2022
CASHosp: April 2022
CSMACAS SBI: May 2022
CSMAHOSP: June 2022
CSMAGRAN: July 2022
Hospital: October 2022
The process for installation in each centre is as follows: the day of the switch is established with the coordinator and on that day a Benni systems technician visits the site. The day of the switch and the necessary support to configure the Cloud exchange is coordinated with the outsourcer and telephone company. Staff need not be trained as the terminals are the same and operation is transparent for end users.
The change to a Cloud environment is necessary:
Employee satisfaction . Relocation of the workplace as the extension can be linked to a mobile phone via APP or softphone.
Reduction in costs. Reduction of fixed costs by 25%. The reorganization and optimization of lines has yielded an annual saving of 27% (over €3,000) in fixed telephony costs.
Greater efficiency. As there is no limit on the number of calls received, the new system has doubled the capacity for handling incoming calls (from 52 to unlimited incoming calls).
More robust processes. Improved security, availability (from the internet provider) and lower hardware management costs. Greater flexibility in terminal configuration.
The innovative nature of this good practice lies in the management of the VoIP service, which has now become a Cloud service that gives us hitherto unavailable flexibility in designing the telephone service and enables us to offer this service from off-site workplaces.
Published on*** 13 Jun 2022
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