Jason Miller is the director of sales and marketing at Southern Voices, Inc., a telecommunications company that serves organizations in and around the state of North Carolina.
It’s no secret that pagers are becoming obsolete. What was must-have new technology back in the 1990s is now a clunky device that hardly compares to today’s smart phones.
The healthcare industry is one of the few industries keeping the pager market afloat, because these organizations service the largest percentage of pager users – doctors. Unfortunately, in order to continue pager service, they have to sacrifice functionality, security and efficiency by using outdated technology.
Knowing this, Southern Voices saw an opportunity to fulfill a need. Healthcare organizations, as well as other organizations that rely on safe communication, needed a new way to communicate securely, a system that could benefit their organizations instead of hinder them.
Southern Voices quickly noticed that these organizations weren’t waiting around for the pager to become completely obsolete. They wanted a new solution to their communication problem now, and Southern Voices was able to provide that solution by giving them a safe and secure alternative to pagers—miSecureMessages.
miSecureMessages (MSM) is a powerful, secure smart phone paging and messaging application built for Android™, Apple® (iPad®, iPhone®, iPod touch®), and BlackBerry® devices that replaces or supplements paging technology and enables two-way instant secure communication using the power of the miSecureMessages app.
Call centers can be confident that all messages are completely secure. PHI, HIPAA, and HITECH regulations require that all patient-sensitive information is kept secure. miSecureMessages uses end-to-end encryption with all of its messages to provide this security.
When first deciding to offer miSecureMessages to clients, Jason Miller faced a number of challenges. The most pressing one was to convince doctors that miSecureMessages has enough value to warrant learning and adapting to a new system of communication.
“The majority of our service customers were already using text messaging,” says Miller. “So, many of them didn’t see a whole lot of benefit in learning a new system. They didn’t understand the benefit, so they were hesitant to switch.”
The older demographic of doctors was especially difficult to convince. Many of these doctors had carried pagers for most of their careers, and, after using the same system for so long, they didn’t want to give it up even though miSecureMessages promised much better usability.
What’s more, some of these older doctors didn’t own smart phones. To them, not only was the miSecureMessages system foreign, so was the very idea of using a smart phone. Put simply, they just didn’t want to have to deal with the learning curve when it seemed unnecessary.
There was also the perception that the miSecureMessages system was nothing more than a glorified text message system. Some healthcare organizations feared that, because its operation was so simple, the system wouldn’t be secure enough. They thought they would be breaking HIPAA rules just by using it.
For these reasons, Miller explains that, “I don’t typically have many people asking or calling me about miSecureMessages. It’s something I usually have to bring to the table for my current clients, as well as new ones. But that’s okay, because my experience tells me that once I address some of these concerns, they become much more interested in how the system can benefit their organizations.”
Creating Interest and Value
Demonstrating miSecureMessages on a laptop and a smartphone added a “wow factor” to Southern Voices service offerings.
“When I first introduce MSM, I like to meet face-to-face with clients, especially new ones,” says Miller. “Most people can grasp the concept, but they can’t visualize the benefits in respect to their own organizations until they actually see how it works.”
For every new miSecureMessages client, Miller gives a demonstration of the system, taking a message from dispatch to delivery and then eventually to a reply, helping them to better understand how MSM will help their organization.
“When I go into an office to do this demonstration, I focus on the younger physicians, because they’ll typically already have smart phones,” Miller said. “This, coupled with a free trial, is a great way to get a foot in the door with older physicians who may not be as apt to throw away their pagers.”
If a client is interested, Miller provides the office manager a free temporary license for a week, enabling physicians to experiment with the system while they are on call. This helps the doctors, even the skeptical ones, experience the benefits of MSM first hand.
It also helps to prevent some growing pains when the organization eventually transitions to the MSM system. It gives physicians that aren’t used to using this kind of technology the chance to
familiarize with it before the system is fully installed. It also gives office managers a chance to ask questions about MSM and make sure they understand how to manage it efficiently.
“One of the things we really concentrate on is trying to make sure our clients know that they are as safe as possible when it comes to HIPAA,” says Miller. “We try to clear up any misconceptions about the security of MSM right away. We also discuss how unsafe a lot of other messaging systems can be.”
Recently, many hospitals have started to embrace text messaging as an alternative to paging. According to the American Health Information Management Association, one survey found that 73 percent of physicians text message other physicians during the work day.
Unlike text messaging or e-mails that have the potential to be intercepted by third parties, miSecureMessages uses encrypted messaging technology, which Miller makes a point of stressing early and often. Only the sender and receiver can view these encrypted messages and the messages are never stored on the device.
Miller explains that when clients understand how much safer miSecureMessages actually is than regular text messaging, they really see the value in it.
Efficient Two-Way Communication
“Doctors really like the two-way communication,” says Miller. “They love being able to send messages to both individuals and groups. This is one of the first things I mention when a client wonders about the benefits of miSecureMessages.”
Miller makes a point to touch on how much more efficiently and safely doctors can work with one another by taking advantage of this kind of two-way communication. miSecureMessages makes it easier for them to message each other, ask for particular information or find someone to cover a shift.
They also have the option of changing their availability status right from their phones if they don’t want to message someone directly with no need to call in to the hospital. “When they update their status, they don’t even need to contact us,” says Miller.
This feature helps to quickly inform hospital managers of who is replacing whom so they don’t waste time paging a doctor who isn’t in-house. With traditional pagers, an information lag would sometimes occur. A doctor might contact a person to cover for him but forget to touch base with the hospital.
Faster Response Time and Higher Patient Satisfaction
Another big selling point for clients is the big reduction in doctor response time that comes as a result of using miSecureMessages. “It’s easy to ignore a pager when it goes off and forget about it for 20 minutes,” says Miller.
With miSecureMessages, that doesn’t happen. An unread message will keep beeping until the doctor opens it. Naturally, the sooner a doctor receives the information the sooner he or she can address it.
“The doctors also like that they don’t even have to respond to these messages a lot of the time,” Miller adds. “They know that once they open and read it, we have confirmation. They can continue with what they’re doing.”
Many of Miller’s clients saw in increase in patient satisfaction as a direct result of MSM’s reduction in response times. Most healthcare organizations are well aware of how often patients have to wait an extended period of time before their concerns are addressed, so just the mention of being able to reduce this wait time can grab their interest.
Infinity Integration and The Future
miSecureMessages easily integrates with AMTELCO’s Infinity and Intelligent Series (IS). It is another contact method that is set up very similarly to how pagers and other contact methods are set up in Infinity/IS.
This has turned into an important selling point for clients because it makes it easier and more efficient for users to send secure messages to anyone they choose.
When a user calls in, he gets a front-end greeting unique to the office he is calling. The user then inputs a pager ID that is unique to the person he wants to contact. He includes a callback number, presses the pound key (#) and the page is sent. “This feature basically translates a page into a secure message,” says Miller.
In the MSM message history, clients can determine when a message was sent, when it was received and when it was read. Having this kind of record helps to clear up any issues with doctors forgetting to respond to messages.
“I’m excited about this, and I look forward to introducing it to more clients in the future,” said Miller.
IS Web Integration
miSecureMessages can also integrate with AMTELCO’s IS Web applications: Directory, OnCall, Scripting, etc. This is a huge benefit to call center clients, as they also can be sending messages via the IS Web. They can get rid of their pagers and only use the miSecureMessages service. Give them online access to a script, and the process gets even easier.
Call Centers and Their Clients like the Detailed Reporting
Lastly, by utilizing miSecureMessages, not only are operators going to have a full message history at their fingertips, but call center clients can benefit from this as well. You have access to complete Message Summary reporting that can be sent to your clients, with all the message thread data, history and timestamps. The Billing Report gives you a complete breakdown of statistical data regarding how many messages were sent to and from which users, and which devices.
Marketing Materials and Resources
AMTELCO provides marketing materials and resources to call center partners in their Certified Partner Program including:
• Call Script
• Brochure and brochure text
• E-mail text
• PowerPoint presentations
• Demo movie
• YouTube movies
• App user guide documentation for Android, Apple and Blackberry devices
• All partner companies promoted on the miSecureMessages website (free!)
AMTELCO has been in business for more than 35 years. It is a company that can be trusted to support miSecureMessages, and all AMTELCO products, for years to come. Their field service department is always there 24/7 to help with any issue that may arise, quickly and efficiently. AMTELCO always has its eyes on the horizon continuously innovating and inventing products to make call center businesses even more successful.
Southern Voices is taking advantage of an opportunity to increase business by providing a new way to communicate securely to their clients using AMTELCO’s miSecureMessages.