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Memorial Hermann Healthcare System of Houston reduce telecommunications costs

Memorial Hermann Healthcare System of Houston(MHHS), is the largest community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas, consisting of 19 Hospitals and Specialty Facilities located throughout the Houston metropolitan area. Memorial Hermann Hospital is a certified level-one trauma center, one of only two in the Greater Houston area, whose 12,000-plus employees provide 24-hour emergency and trauma care, including response to over 339,000 emergency visits a year.

Steve Hagmaier, Director of Telecommunications for MHHS had taken every action possible at a corporate level to reduce telecommunications costs. Further optimization of services and cost reductions were hampered by both the telephony infrastructure mixture of stand-alone, multi-vendor and multi-generation equipment, and the limited capabilities and level of usage detail provided by the telecom management systems.

Under the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA), health care industries are required to ensure patient confidentiality for all health care-related and patient information. The hospital had strict “no-modem” and “acceptable-use” policies in place, but means of enforcement was needed.

SecureLogix’s ETM® System demonstrated both a compelling projected financial return and its telecom asset management capabilities during a 120-day TeleWatch Secure SM Assessment Service and ROI study, conducted at Memorial Hermann Hospital from mid-December, 2000 through mid-April, 2001. MHHS has since extended deployment of the ETM System to cover 6 member hospitals.

According to Hagmaier, one of the primary benefits of the ETM System is the quantitative data it provides. The data collected by the ETM System (and some of the over 50 pre-defined reports), provided the visibility of the hospital’s voice network that led to cost savings sufficient to recover investment in the System in less than one year. For example:

• Peak and average utilization reports revealed that optimization of service allowed a 10% reduction in capacity without affecting quality of service.

• Detailed resource usage reports revealed that a great deal of the total telephone traffic was between member hospitals, and provided the objective data necessary to justify replacing 3 expensive local access trunks with 3 inter-hospital tie trunks.

• Department-level usage reports facilitated departmental bill-back and participation in reducing their contribution to the total bill for their hospital.

• Resource usage reports showing modem call activity revealed a level of unauthorized modem calls to ISPs such that Hagmaier estimated the same line could have been used for 4 voice calls during the average modem call.

Another primary benefit MHHS receives from the ETM System is the ability to enforce administrator-configured security policies to both eliminate unauthorized modem access to local ISPs, and limit the access of authorized modems to a pre-defined list of authorized users. This capability facilitates MHHS’s compliance with HIPPA by preventing unauthorized modem access to patient records, billing information, etc. on the data network. Additionally, by terminating the revealed volume of unauthorized modem calls to ISPs, more voice users can be served without bringing on additional trunks.

See the “Memorial Hermann Case Study” for a comprehensive account of the Memorial Hermann Hospital Return on Investment Study.

Nickell uses the ETM Performance Manager to monitor, in real time, the enterprise-wide health-and-status, signaling error and availability conditions. The Performance Manager provides Nickell with alerts and documentation to indicate frame slips and bit slips on the circuits, and whether the errors are internal to the PBX or the local CO (Central Office). Armed with the metrics provided by the ETM System, Nickell is able to assume a proactive position in enforcing the Service Level Agreements with telecom service providers.

“I have visibility over usage details that had not been readily available before now. In addition to providing unprecedented protection to our data network, it will help us plan for, and size, our telecom resources for maximum efficiency and optimized service, and that is going to reduce telecommunication costs.”

—Steve Hagmaier,Director of Telecommunications, Memorial Hermann Hospital

Source : SecureLogix Corporation

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