On-Call Scheduling Case Study

By Gary DuPont

MASCO Services Inc. (MSI) offers a full range of telecommunications services, including centralized attendant and main number answering, radio-paging and cellular dispatch, and traditional message center services to the medical community.

MSI uses a multi-tasking call processing system integrating the Avaya ACD and the LAN-based system provided by Xtend Communications for directory, paging, on-call, and telemessaging functions. Gary DuPont, Director of Telecommunications at MSI said, “The On-Call application, an integral part of the Xtend paging and answering service module, maintains accurate coverage schedules enabling those individuals on call to be reached efficiently. The program is an extremely flexible and powerful tool used by our customer care representatives and clients daily.”

“The problems with on-call schedules are manifold,” said Mary Gaughan, senior customer care supervisor at MSI.  “The volume of data can be enormous. Some of our clients keep hundreds of separate schedules for multiple sub-disciplines. This can mean hundreds of changes per month. Every time a change is made, there is potential for errors that can adversely affect service delivery. By using the on-call program we know who made the change and when. Lastly, we have made the on-call program accessible to our clients so they can input and update their own information on a regular basis.”

MSI takes advantage of Xtend Enhanced On-call to accurately and efficiently contact the person on call at a given time. Enhanced On-call is paging-status-aware, with the system tracking up to 99 customer defined paging states. Typically, an organization relies on ten status types. These may include “in-hospital on-page,” “in surgery – messages stored,” “covered by – (where another pager ID is receiving the paging messages on their own pager),” “available – long range pager” and “unavailable for page.” Including the status information within the on-call software quickly notifies agents of the paging status of that staff member or allows staff members to carry “job” pagers. Job pagers are commonly passed between on-call members and are sometimes used in lieu of a true on-call product.

Enhanced on-call is an important tool at MSI. It also includes multiple report formats and allows schedules to be built years in advance. The company asks clients to submit their schedules at least one month in advance. MSI is currently working on moving the responsibility of maintaining the individual on-call schedules back to the individual departments they represent using Xtend’s WebXchange application.

For more information about Xtend, visit www.amcomsoftware.com.

[See our article and vendor coverage for On-Call Scheduling Software.]

[From Connection MagazineMay 2003]

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