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Woodlands North Houston Heart Center streamlines communications and enhances patient care with ShoreTel VoIP technology

State-of-the-art coronary care is complemented by multi-site IP telephony system that reduces costs and is easy to implement, manage, and use
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SUNNYVALE, Calif., June 21, 2005 - Woodlands North Houston Heart Center (WNHHC) has added ShoreTel Inc.'s unique IP telephony system to its technology arsenal that is part of an all-out campaign to prevent, diagnose, and cure heart disease.

ShoreTel VoIP fit right into the clinic's technology-oriented philosophy. WNHHC is redefining coronary care with a revolutionary CT machine which produces 3D scans that eliminate the need for a lot of catheterizations and other invasive procedures. Wireless laptops have joined stethoscopes as standard appendages for doctors, and all medical records and test reports can be transmitted instantly to experts anywhere for consultation.

ShoreTel has converged voice into this state-of-the-art environment with a single system that spans multiple sites, accommodates increasing call volume, eliminates inter-site toll charges, boosts productivity, and gets staff and patients connected to the right people a lot faster.

"We pride ourselves on using leading-edge technology to provide our patients with better health care services," said WNHHC administrator John Henderson. "The ShoreTel system provides advanced capabilities that make our staff more productive and allow us to improve the patient experience, and yet it is very easy to configure and operate. I can't emphasize enough how easy it is to manage and use."

The hospital considered phone systems from a number of big-name vendors, but doctors viewing ShoreTel's live demonstration were won over immediately and wouldn't settle for less.

"Because ShoreTel provides a distributed architecture with no single point of failure, it was an easy decision for WNHHC," said Mike Murphy, president of ShoreTel channel partner Total technologies LLC. "Voice communication is a mission-critical application, and the ShoreTel system's ability to deliver five nines (99.999%) of reliability made it stand out from the competition."

ShoreTel comes standard with a lot more features and functions, such as Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) and workgroups, and provides the most extensive support of legacy equipment and environments. Mobility was inexpensively enabled by equipping nursing pods with Spectranet analog cordless phones. Similarly, the existing overhead paging system was easily integrated and extended across sites.

Because the ShoreTel system runs on standard Windows platforms, the staff did not have to learn a new system, and moves, adds, and changes can be made instantly and remotely from any browser-based console. The actual implementation and cutover were effected easily, without interrupting WNHHC's round-the-clock business.

A unique Personal Call Manager interface puts PBX-level call control on each desktop, and is so intuitive that the staff took to it with very little training. The PCM provides unified messaging and integrates with Outlook directories and calendars for automated dialing and call routing.

"The clinic staff was able to start helping patients right away with no interruptions, reported James Quinet, director of operations for Total Technologies. He credits ShoreTel's simple installation and minimal training requirements for making the IT team's job "much easier."

ShoreTel provides WNHHC with a virtually unlimited number of ways to direct incoming phone calls and route them quickly to the right place. "To transfer a call, you just type in the first few letters of a name and the extension pops up and you click and you're done," Henderson reports.

During certain hours or on certain days, calls can be automatically routed to an answering service or other alternative, eliminating labor-intensive and error-introducing processes. Similarly, call-history logs automatically record incoming calls from patients and document whether and when a return call was made.

More for less

The ShoreTel system has proven itself less expensive to own than other IP-based or traditional voice platforms. Its ease of management and use minimizes maintenance and support overhead, and a distributed architecture enables inter-site calls to ride the data WAN and bypass carrier networks. Fixes and changes no longer require expensive and time-consuming truck rolls from third parties.

Initial estimates indicate that ShoreTel has reduced WNHHC's annual phone expenses by 16% even while the organization's staff grew 20%. The efficiency of the ShoreTel system has enabled WNHHC to handle a much higher call volume while eliminating two backup operator positions.

"Woodlands North Houston Heart Center's focus on leveraging technology to win the battle against heart disease made it a good candidate for the ShoreTel IP phone system," said Steve Timmerman, vice president of marketing at ShoreTel. "It's great to see that not only is the system fulfilling its expectations as the right one for the Center, but it is also reducing overall operating expenses."

About Woodlands North Houston Heart Center

The physicians of Woodlands North Houston Heart Center now deliver highest standard of cardiology services at two locations. Cardiology is a rapidly evolving science, and WNHHC is committed to being at the forefront of technology innovations and diagnosis and treatment technique, always offering patients the most advanced medical expertise available. With some of the best cardiologists and other specialists in Houston, WNHHC can claim a collective knowledge base second to none, and combines it with genuine, compassionate patient care. While technology is a critical tool, this willingness to take time with patients, listen to their questions, and address their concerns is the true foundation of WNHHC's success.

About Total Technologies LLC

Total Technologies is a prominent telecommunications company specializing in robust VoIP, PBX, and key system voice solutions, structured cabling and design, and LAN/WAN infrastructures. As an Ideacom partner, Total Technologies is part of a $200 million nationwide organization of individual telecommunications companies. Total Technologies is committed to providing world-class solutions to businesses, including unmatched customer service and unequaled technical expertise.

About ShoreTel, Inc.

ShoreTel is the fastest growing IP PBX company in the United States and the leader in customer satisfaction. The company has shipped its groundbreaking solutions since 1998 and continues to outpace the rapidly expanding VoIP market with technological advances and sales that are doubling year over year. ShoreTel voice systems are designed to make businesses smarter, setting new standards for usability and manageability while reducing telecommunications costs. A uniquely distributed architecture extends enterprise-class voice services to every office and outpost, keeping employees fully connected wherever they go. A select, worldwide group of channel partners provide top-notch service and support. For more information, visit http://www.shoretel.com or call 1-877-80SHORE