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Olympic Medical Center

Healthy Communications

Cerium helps Olympic Medical Center revive ailing communications platform with Avaya solution

Olympic Medical Center (OMC) is a comprehensive, award-winning healthcare provider for more than 71,000 residents of Clallam County, Washington, which occupies the northern portion of the Olympic Peninsula. Locally owned and operated, OMC has serviced the community since 1951 and is a designated sole community hospital and rural referral center by Medicare. OMC’s flagship hospital, Olympic Memorial Hospital, provides inpatient services at its 80-bed acute care facility, including a level-three trauma designated emergency department. This Port Angeles hospital site also includes surgical and birth center services, as well as outpatient services, including cardiac, imaging, world-class cancer care, rehabilitation therapy, laboratory, nutrition services and diabetes education.


Solutions Provided

  • Avaya Aura: CM, SM, SMgr, Messaging, AES, and Avaya Elite Voice
  • Contact Center
  • Avaya Attendant Console
  • TASKE Call Reporting.
  • 911ETC for e911

OMC is broken into two divisions: Olympic Medical Physicians, which offers both primary and specialty care services, and Olympic Medical Home Health, an award-winning agency spanning Clallam County and west Jefferson County. OMC has become the premier provider of healthcare services and the largest employer on the Olympic Peninsula, with a staff of over 1,000 employees at 26 satellite locations.

The Planning Stages

For nearly two years, OMC’s Telecommunication Manager, Craig Haught, worked with Cerium Networks to maintain multiple legacy, end-of-life Nortel® PBX systems during the evaluation and discovery process of a new IP based phone system. The new IP phone system needed to provide coverage for all of the sites in the entire OMC network, while the legacy systems needed to be maintained throughout the extended implementation phase.

There were several factors influencing the ultimate decision to implement Avaya Aura® for OMC. First, Craig visited another Cerium customer site to see how that customer was using their Avaya platform. He wanted to understand how they deployed and managed their solution. “The customer was very happy with the system, especially with the ease of use and administration. Further, that customer spoke highly of Cerium,” said Craig. Second, OMC was able to reuse much of their existing Nortel licensing for a tremendous cost savings over competing solutions.

Third, OMC was able to convert their Nortel 1100 IP phones to SIP phones simply by loading a new software for those phones.

Finally, the new network Avaya phones have secondary pass-through/network ports. “We only needed one network drop at the phone — so it’s easy to deploy network features at the desktop. POE switches are really expensive, so we get a lot more bang for our buck this way. This feature has probably saved us the need for about a dozen switches, which would otherwise cost us several thousand dollars each,” said Craig.

“We did a lot of planning with Cerium, and we feel fortunate to land the team we did. There was a lot of discovery [in the process]. What helped the most was for Cerium to come in and peel apart the layers of our legacy Nortel platform. It helped us understand how the system worked, and what to do going forward,” said Craig. He went on to explain that because the Cerium team had expertise in Nortel, Avaya, and other relevant solutions, the recommendations from Cerium were considerate of the most beneficial and strategic objectives and options for OMC.


Cerium ultimately designed and deployed a solution with an Avaya Aura® Core. The solution included System Manager and Communication Manager, as well as Application Enablement Server, Call Center Elite, and Aura Messaging. The most vulnerable platforms, which were end-of-life and end-of-support, were converted first. Because the migration was phased over an extended period, each time a group of users was moved to the new Aura system, changes needed to be made in both the Nortel system and the Avaya system in order to allow for continued extension-to-extension communication for the users on each system.

The implementation and cutover of the new Avaya Aura® solution were conducted in phases over a two-year period, an extension from the originally scoped 6-month plan. Craig explains, “We had multiple challenges. We had to migrate the hospital to a new EMR platform, moving from Meditech to EPIC. We also had to do a whole physical network upgrade (infrastructure and electronic, switch/route) during this process.”

Craig continues, “Every system was touched. We had to run new copper and fiber. Then we decided to do the PBX upgrade.” He goes on to explain that the end users needed a breather between the acceptance of the new EMR, and the cutover to a new communications system. “Cerium was very gracious in working with this unexpected hiatus,” he says.

In addition to the traditional implementation, there was an R&D side to the deployment relating to the one-X Attendant Application. “We had one component, which is the one-X platform, which was problematic. We were trying to run it in a 0-client environment [with a] virtual server environment — this was not a supported platform at the time of deployment, but we got it resolved with the help of Chris Kerklaan [Cerium engineer]. Chris made an all-out push to get this stable and functioning. We were then able to permanently disconnect the legacy system,” said Craig.

Key Features

The Session Manager is a SIP routing and integration tool and the core component within the Avaya Aura® Enterprise Edition solution. It integrates all SIP entities across the entire enterprise network within a company. Session Manager unifies enterprise communications, enabling each location, branch, or application to be part of the overall enterprise, managed as an enterprise, and seen as an enterprise.

System Manager is the central administration component for Avaya Aura®. It takes a solution-level approach to network administration that allows IT departments to incorporate new components and applications under a common management umbrella over time, managing the elements of Avaya Aura® as a system. System Manager centralizes provisioning, maintenance, and troubleshooting to simplify and reduce management complexity and solution servicing.

Communication Manager is the IP telephony foundation on which Avaya delivers UC solutions. It delivers rich voice and video capabilities and provides for a resilient, distributed network of gateways and analog, digital and IP-based communication devices.

Call Center Elite call routing software is an Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) application that maximizes routing and resource selection, allowing agents to handle calls more effectively, and improving overall productivity. It offers conditional (if/then) call routing, using context-based inputs and versatile selection capabilities. Managers can choose whether inbound calls connect with the least busy agent, the first available agent, or the one with skills that best match the customer’s needs. Virtual call routing allows businesses with multiple sites to maximize resource utilization across all locations.

Cerium deployed Call Center Elite at multiple physical locations for six separate call centers with over 75 agents. Most of the scripting and call flow programming work was completed by Cerium’s Kendra Baumann. “We were rolling the call center out early on, so we’ve had it in practice for about 18 months in some areas. It’s mostly used for patient issues.”

Craig went on to say that a big benefit of the call center is the ability for his team to customize it internally. The call center was deployed with an application called TASKE, which is a contact center reporting package, enabling call center supervisors to view real-time and historical reporting.

Aura Messaging is a powerful IP and standards-based Unified Messaging (UM) platform, designed for single or multi-site global enterprises. Avaya Aura® Messaging provides a superior feature package of call answering, voice messaging, and speech capabilities. Messages are accessible anytime, anywhere from a wide array of access devices, including telephone, fax machines, or PC graphical user interfaces.

The biggest benefit to OMC, from an IT perspective, has been the IP architecture. Craig explained that the IP architecture “allows us to move our change work more efficiently. We can also look into Avaya CM using the inherent management systems. It’s more intuitive than the old legacy system. It helps us work through things much more efficiently. We are really pleased with this aspect. We’ve had really good success with the sound quality of the phone sets, ease of migration, and ease of install. Since we only need one network drop at the phone, it’s easy to deploy network features at the desktop.”

The Avaya Aura® solution included an Application Enablement Services (AES) server in addition to the core services. The Avaya Aura® AES provides developer interfaces for both off-the-shelf and custom integrations with hundreds of communications and business applications, call recording, and click-to-dial applications. In this deployment, the AES supports the integration between Avaya Communication Manager and TASKE and 911 ETC / Conveyant Sentry emergency location management applications. In this very complex integration process, the legacy E911 system was kept running through the migration to Aura until the final phase.

User Adoption and Training

The user adoption of the Avaya Aura® system went smoothly, and “without a lot of hiccups.” Craig explained that OMC conducted a lot of advanced notification and training efforts to prepare end users. This included the provision of advanced documentation to staff and training on sample phones in staff meetings, which afforded “comfort buy-in” early in the planning and implementation process. Craig also offered high praise for the training provided by Cerium. Multiple training sessions were held for OMC end-user staff, in addition to administrator training. The new features, functions, and voice messaging were quickly adopted and very intuitive for end users. The training sessions included specific 9611 handset training, SIP phones (retraining people on the reloaded Nortel 1100 phones), and training on new Avaya call center. Cerium also provided advanced administrator training at Cerium’s Bothell office, which included a full demonstration lab. Going forward, Craig said he hopes to bring staff back for more in-depth training.


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