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Dermatology Practice Efficiently Manages Patients' Calls and Saves Money with Avaya Voice and Data System for Small Businesses


The Dermatology Group of Northern New Jersey efficiently manages patients' calls and controls costs with a small-business voice and data system from Avaya.

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – The Dermatology Group of Northern New Jersey efficiently manages patients' calls and controls costs with a small-business voice and data system from Avaya.


With four locations and 14 physicians, the practice receives up to 1,500 calls on its busiest day, with almost half of them for appointments. "Few physicians' offices have that kind of calling volume for a practice this size," said Angela Short, vice president of operations. "We needed a system that could handle the load. And we knew we'd save money and make it easier for our patients to schedule appointments if we consolidated our communications into one department and managed it ourselves from one location. Avaya IP Office is exactly what we need." 


IP Office is a communications system that uses both voice and IP technology to help businesses like The Dermatology Group reduce cost, increase productivity, and improve customer service. With IP Office configured by Nu-TEL Communications, a certified member of the Avaya BusinessPartner program, the practice eliminated the separate telephone numbers at its multiple offices. Instead, patients now call a single number at the group's headquarters in West Orange. Callers hear prompts that direct them to groups that handle billing, prescription refills, patients' questions that are reviewed by a special team to ensure they're clearly communicated to the physicians, insurance claims, or appointment scheduling. Eleven full time agents answer incoming calls and schedule appointments at all five locations. These agents use their desktop computers to answer calls, which lets them see physicians' schedules on their computer screen and schedule appointments in any of the offices, depending on which doctor is available.


"Our goal was to pick up 80 percent of calls within 30 seconds and manage 80 percent of our calls within three minutes, and most of the time we achieve it," Short said. "In the past, each location managed its own incoming calls, and quite frankly some locations were overwhelmed with the volume and had patients on hold for as long as 10 minutes. Now, we can check our computer screens to see how many patients are in the queue and assign agents where they're most needed during peak demand.  If we fall short of our goal, we know exactly where we need to improve, and I talk to my call center supervisor and agents to find out what happened and how we can do better. Before, when we couldn't pinpoint the problems the way we do now, we'd simply be in the dark."


One of the most valuable tools, Short said, is the reporting capability inherent in IP Office. "If a patient complains to one of our physicians about being on hold when they called, in less than a few minutes I can do a computer search on that patient's phone number, find out who answered the call, and provide feedback to the doctor," she said. "I can also find out how many calls agents answer daily, which helps our supervisor distribute incoming calls equally among the staff."


Although all incoming calls come into the IP Office in Verona, it is connected to IP Offices at the other three locations over a private network, so the staff can quickly transfer calls with three-digit dialing, which reduces local phone call charges. A special feature added on to IP Office directly routes calls from the founder and head of the group, dermatologist Dr. Daniel Groisser, to a handful of agents. Instead, his incoming call bypasses the auto attendant system and ensures his call is answered quickly. 


The Dermatology Practice plans to add another two offices at the end of 2008 and double the number of their agents handling incoming calls with IP Office. "This is not just a phone system," Short said. "This is an investment in our future that's enabling everyone to communicate and get patients the answers they need as quickly as possible. We know we're going to continue to grow dramatically. With IP Office, we know we’re prepared."


According to Geoffrey Baird, vice president and general manager, Small and Medium Business pision, Avaya, the same IP telephony applications that are valuable to enterprises are increasingly attractive to small businesses. "These applications provide employees with increased mobility, the ability to improve and measure customer support and service, and present a professional image to clients," he said. "In fact, we offer training to our reseller community on the best ways to clearly explain the benefits of converged communications to small businesses and help these companies recognize how they can strategically use communications as a competitive differentiator."


About Avaya
Avaya delivers Intelligent Communications solutions that help companies transform their businesses to achieve marketplace advantage. More than 1 million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®, use Avaya solutions for IP Telephony, Unified Communications, Contact Centers and Communications-Enabled Business Processes. Avaya Global Services provides comprehensive service and support for companies, small to large. For more information visit the Avaya Web site:


About Nu-TEL
Nu-TEL Communications of NJ Inc. is dedicated to helping small-medium businesses (SMBs) navigate the endless list of choices in selecting, installing and servicing office phone systems, network video systems and IP video conferencing systems. Nu-TEL is a certified Avaya Business Partner. Its design and implementation team holds certifications from Avaya that include the prestigious ACE, Avaya Certified Expert, ACA, Sales; ACA, Implement; and ACS, Implement. These certifications ensure that Nu-TEL's clients receive the full support of both Nu-TEL and Avaya. For more information visit the Nu-TEL web site:


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