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How this brain-injury rehab organization continued helping patients through the lockdowns


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It would be difficult to imagine a more noble organization than one devoted to helping people with brain injuries regain the skills and strength to live with as much independence as possible. One of the first such organizations—and today one of the most successful and renowned—is the Centre for Neuro Skills.

Since its founding 40 years ago, CNS has helped tens of thousands of patients rebuild their lives after suffering from an acquired or traumatic brain injury. Even more impressive: The organization’s six outpatient clinics and long-term residential facilities have gained so much experience and expertise over the years that CNS is now one of the medical community’s leading sources of information on best practices for brain-injury rehabilitation therapy.

Each year, the highly trained specialists at CNS—speech and physical therapists, physicians, mental-health counselors, clinical aides, etc.—care for nearly 1,000 patients in the company’s residential rehab locations throughout California and Texas.

So when the COVID lockdowns went into effect in both states, CNS faced a serious challenge. Its patients’ underlying conditions placed them at elevated risk from the virus, meaning the staff needed to limit their in-person visits with them. But these patients still needed regular care and attention from the clinical therapy team.

Fortunately for CNS and its patients, prior to COVID the organization had already switched to a cloud communications solution that allowed the staff to continue seeing and caring for these patients remotely.

From a cost-cutting measure to the ideal telehealth solution

Joe Castillo, Regional Director of Operations, had several reasons for moving CNS from its legacy phone infrastructure to RingCentral in 2018—but one of his major goals was to reduce the organization’s overall telecom costs. “The monthly phone bills themselves were costing us way too much,” he recalls. “Plus, we were paying separate vendors for other communication services, like video conferencing and instant messaging. It really added up.”

And when they rolled out RingCentral’s all-in-one solution for phone, video, and team messaging, Joe’s team did achieve the cost-savings they were hoping for. But their new cloud communications platform really proved itself invaluable at the outbreak of COVID.

Rather than panicking about how to stay connected with patients during the lockdown, CNS’s staff was able to easily transition to telehealth therapy sessions with patients via RingCentral’s phone and video conferencing solutions. 

At our residential inpatient facilities, all we had to do was add RingCentral desktop apps to patients’ computers,” says Joe. “And for group telehealth meetings, we connected computers to TVs in the common rooms and used the TVs as monitors. Within about four days, we were fully up and running with video-based rehab sessions for patients. It was incredible.”

In addition to enabling CNS to continue delivering high-quality care to patients during the lockdowns, RingCentral also helped staff members stay connected to each other, and share insights and best practices across the organization.

“Our therapists started creating dedicated groups on RingCentral’s messaging platform to share information,” explains Joe. “So we’d have our speech therapists communicating with each other via team message about what was working in their telehealth treatments.”

“Our staff now lives in the RingCentral app every day,” Joe points out. “As a company, I don’t think we’ve had this much communication ever.”

Originally published Feb 23, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022

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