Just What the Doctor Ordered: Softphones and Digital Faxing from TelNet Help Physician Start Her Own Practice
TelNet Worldwide helps companies of all sizes, from large enterprises to midsize businesses to solo entrepreneurs. One such entrepreneur is Dr. Theresa Andersonning, who received telephone and unified communication systems support from TelNet when opening her own solo practice in 2023.
Dr. Theresa Andersonning, DO, is a family practitioner in Brighton, MI. She is a primary care physician specializing in neuro musculoskeletal medicine, what’s called OMT (Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment).
“I chose to be a primary care physician because it is the foundation of your health. My goal is to help my patients be healthy. With OMT, there’s a lot of musculoskeletal help I can provide.”
Branching Out on Her Own
Dr. Andersonning had been part of a larger physician group when she decided to go solo and open her own practice in 2023. “I decided I could practice medicine differently on my own, that I would like to run my office in a smaller way,” she says.
Another motivation in going solo was work-life balance. “My family is my priority and I wasn’t getting the opportunities to do what I wanted with my family while I was part of a larger practice,” she says.
Dr. Andersonning and her husband have two children, ages eight and 11.
At the Forefront of Telemedicine
When Dr. Andersonning first branched out on her own, she did not have a physical location. To treat patients while she searched for an office building to house her practice, she turned to telemedicine. Telemedicine — sometimes called telehealth— lets a healthcare provider care for patients without in-person office visits. Telehealth is done online with internet access from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
A 2022 survey from the American Medical Association (AMA) shows nearly 85% of physician use some form of telehealth to care for patients.
As a telemedicine provider, technology and telecom services were vital to Dr. Andersonning’s success.
A Telecom Team Effort
Getting Dr. Andersonning a robust and reliable technology system was a total team operation.
A self-admitted “non-techie and non-businessperson,” Dr. Andersonning turned to Greg Sears. Sears operates GA Sears Advisory Group, a healthcare and business consulting firm that specializes in helping new physician practices.
Dr. Andersonning’s situation was unique. “Because I started out not having a physical location, the ability to take patient calls and conduct meetings from home was very important,” she says.
To solve Dr. Andersonning’s technology needs, Sears turned to Nick Oliverio, the president of N2M Technology. N2M helps organizations leverage technology to enable growth and success.
N2M, in turn, contacted TelNet Worldwide.
“N2M is a valued technology sales partner of ours,” says TelNet Sales Director Jeff Potter. “We’ve worked with them to provide telecom solutions for all kinds of businesses. Dr. Andersonning’s situation was unique given her circumstances and we were happy to help.”
TelNet’s Solution: Webex Unified Communications with Softphones
To meet Dr. Andersonning’s need, TelNet implemented Webex Unified Communications with Softphones.
With Webex, a collaboration application runs on laptops and smart phones. The app allows users to conduct meetings and take calls from anywhere, without the need for physical desk phones. In the case of Dr. Andersonning, Webex allows her to stay in touch with staff as well as patients without the need for a hardwired phone system.
Dr. Andersonning likes the fact that, with Webex, she can use her mobile phone to communicate with patients, but not have to give out her personal cell phone number.
“I don’t want patients having my personal phone number so that they can call me at 10 o’clock at night with requests like, ‘doctor, can I get a refill on my blood pressure medicine,’” she says. “With Webex, I don’t have to give people my personal number. Patients call through the app and it comes to my phone, but it’s through the office number.”
The Webex app also allows Dr. Andersonning to conduct virtual video meetings with her staff without having to meet in person.
Coming to the Rescue with Digital Fax
Another solution TelNet provided was digital faxing.
Healthcare is one industry that still relies heavily on faxing. Prescriptions, physician orders and test results are still faxed between providers. “I absolutely use faxing to get all of my orders, my MRIs, ultrasounds, et cetera, and get them to the facilities that need them,” Dr. Andersonning says.
Physicians rely on Electronic Medical Record (EMRs) to manage the clinical aspects of their practice. An EMR contains the results of clinical and administrative encounters between a provider (physician, nurse, telephone triage nurse, and others) and a patient that occur during episodes of patient care.
Dr. Andersonning’s EMR provider told her she would not need faxing, that she would be able to transmit everything via direct messaging within the EMR.
“Well, that did not pan out,” she says. “The direct messaging capability was just not functional.” Another drawback was that it was cost-prohibitive.
That’s when she turned to digital faxing from TelNet.
“Having digital fax is nice because I get to make the order, my office administrator, Angie, downloads the order and drags it into the spot that it needs to go, and it is sent. So we’re not wasting paper. Digital faxing is wonderful, simple and necessary. I wasn’t using it for the first two weeks we started with TelNet because I was using the EMR system. But now, I could not function without Telnet’s digital faxing.”
Digital faxing from TelNet is efficient, easy, cost-effective and HIPAA compliant.
The Ease of Working with TelNet
Dr. Andersonning says working with TelNet was easy, also.
“TelNet made it very easy for me to use these wonderful functions,” she says. “They held a training session at the beginning to show us how to use the Meeting app and how to do all the things we needed to do. We had a lot of fun with that. They made it very easy to understand so that me and Angie, my office administrator, could communicate and send patients links and other information.
“They did the same thing with the phone system. They walked me through all the options, like auto attendant, and how to make it fit for me. They have been very accommodating.”
“TelNet definitely made it accessible for someone like me who’s not a techie. Everybody has been very responsive and patient.”
The interview for this article was conducted in early August. Since then, Dr. Andersonning has moved into a temporary location, where she continues using Webex, softphones and digital faxing. Her practice, Patient Centered Family Medicine and OMT, is located at 8273 Grand River Ave., Brighton, MI 48114. New patients can make appointments by calling 248-869-6500 or visiting www.andersonning.com
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As it did for Dr. Andersonning, unified communications with Webex can give you new capabilities. Discover how you can benefit. Contact a TelNet expert today.
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