- Cloud phone: Using RingCentral’s intuitive admin portal, Gonzaba easily created call queues connecting its support agents to clinicians—to get patients help more quickly.
- Team messaging: Gonzaba used RingCentral’s built-in messaging platform to create a secondary means of employee communication, improving internal collaboration.
- Video conferencing: With RingCentral Video, Gonzaba was able to continue caring for patients even during the COVID lockdowns.
San Antonio’s “#1 Best General Practice Doctor” and “#3 Best Urgent Care”
As Dr. William Gonzaba told the San Antonio Business Journal in 2020, he opened his practice 60 years ago as a one-room clinic with no lobby. “People had to wait in their cars,” he said. “That was the waiting room.” But thanks to Dr. Bill’s model of affordable, patient-centered care—and his organization’s reputation for excellent service—Gonzaba Medical Group has become one of the largest senior primary-care and specialty-care providers in San Antonio with approximately 800 total employees, including nearly 100 healthcare providers.
Today, Gonzaba operates three full-service medical centers as well as six clinics throughout the San Antonio area. The organization also regularly wins awards for its high-quality service—including being voted the 2021 “#1 Best General Practice Doctor” by readers of The San Antonio Express-News—and is regularly designated as a Best Place to Work by San Antonio’s Business Journal.
The one condition the organization’s new telephony solution would have to meet
As Gonzaba expanded its operations in recent years, increasing its staff from 600 to 800, the rapid growth placed additional challenges on the organization’s already-struggling on-prem telephony system.
When Darryl Flores, Director of Gonzaba’s Patient Access Center, began his search for a more flexible, scalable communications platform, he had several wish-list items in mind. He wanted to make it easier for his Patient Access Center agents to connect with the organization’s clinical staff, give employees more mobility in their communications, and help his team eliminate some of their other communication apps by consolidating those capabilities into one unified platform.
But first, there was one compliance-related requirement Darryl had for any communications solution. “RingCentral had a lot going for it in terms of functionality and industry reputation,” Darryl says. “But the big differentiator for us was that RingCentral had earned HITRUST certification. For healthcare organizations, that’s the gold standard because it demonstrates the platform meets the requirements of several data-privacy regulations, most importantly HIPAA.”
RingCentral’s cloud phone app helps improve the patient experience
When Darryl’s team rolled out the RingCentral soft phone and mobile apps for Gonzaba employees’ laptops and cell phones, they immediately found ways to help their support agents more quickly and reliably reach the medical staff at the organization’s various locations. That effort, he explains, led to major operational improvements.
“At our medical centers and clinics, we have small teams called pods consisting of a doctor, nurse, and medical assistant. RingCentral lets me create call queues for each pod. When a Patient Access Center agent calls that number, it rings all members simultaneously. This has brought our connection rates up substantially, meaning our agents can get more immediate help for patients calling in.”
In fact, Gonzaba’s Decision Support Teams have analyzed RingCentral’s call reports and found statistical evidence of these improvements. As Darryl explains, “With our old PBX, agents in our Patient Access Center had difficulty reaching our clinical staff on the first try. The abandon rates on those calls were about 45%. With RingCentral, we got that rate down to single digits.”
RingCentral’s team messaging helps improve staff communications
Along with the cloud-based phone solution, Gonzaba’s employees and supervisors are also using RingCentral’s built-in messaging platform to improve internal communications. One example, Darryl explains, is using these chats as a secondary means of communication between his Patient Access Center agents and the clinical staff.
“If our agents have a noncritical question or request for a clinical team, they’ll send it as a RingCentral team message. But if those clinicians see a phone call coming through from an agent, that likely indicates a patient has an acute symptom or needs help urgently.”
Gonzaba employees are also finding many other ways to use the messaging app to improve team communication and collaboration. “Our supervisors are creating dedicated RingCentral messaging groups for their own teams,” says Darryl. “They use these to blast out real-time notifications if they need to let their teams know that we’re now requiring masks for in-person visits, for example, or if we’re temporarily switching to telemedicine appointments.”
RingCentral Video helps Gonzaba provide care throughout COVID
Finally, Darryl notes, Gonzaba also rolled out the built-in RingCentral Video—HIPAA compliant and HITRUST certified, just like RingCentral’s other communication functions. The video conferencing platform, he explains, helped Gonzaba continue caring for its elderly patients even while they were in quarantine.
“During the several-month period that we had to conduct patient appointments remotely, using RingCentral Video helped us both make sure those visits were secure and compliant, as well as allow us to stay connected with patients who couldn’t otherwise see their physicians.”
In fact, Darryl points out, even though the lockdowns have ended in San Antonio and Gonzaba has largely returned to in-person patient visits, the organization is still finding tremendous value using RingCentral Video for doctor appointments with homebound or bed-ridden Medicare patients.
“A key component of serving our Medicare Advantage patients is the annual Review of Medical History, which regulators require to be either in-person or by video. We can now send a medical assistant to a patient’s home and, using a tablet loaded with RingCentral Video, connect that patient to a physician for a complete, Medicare-approved review. That gives us flexibility we’ve never had before.”
Originally published Feb 17, 2022, updated Dec 30, 2022