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Voice mail: doc dream.


I had dreamed of a system like this," says Dr. Charles Loeb, Los Angeles ob-gyn. "I always want to know who's calling and what they said. An operator or a piece of paper can't convey the emotion in the patient's voice."

With VoiceMemo (from Centigram), he is pages whenever a message has been left.

"I want my patients to know they can reach me at any time. The system will keep paging me until I respond. Then I hear their own words, their tone of voice, and take care of the problem."

Voice messaging can improve communication between physicians.

Dr. Loeb uses VoiceMemo to communicate with his associates. "If I'm out of town or unavailable for some reason, I have the messages sent to my colleagues so that they can hear the patient's problem firsthand," he says.

The Veterans' Administration Medical Center Hospital in Portland, Ore., uses voice messaging to link pathologists with other practitioners.

The pathologists put the lab results onto VoiceMemo. Physicians access the information through a special passcode. They get the results quickly, easily, and efficiently.

Holy Cross Hospital, an old general health-care facility in Ft. Lauderdale, has been using voice messaging to improve communication among administrative personnel. The hospital, which started using voice messaging in 1987, employs more than 1900 people. It's licensed for 597 beds and for outpatient services. With that size, it's not surprising that the administrative staff is on the run most of the day.

"Now we can pick up our messages wherever we are," says Karen Hunter, communications manager there. "The system tells us we have a call waiting> we dial our number and there's the message. It really comes in handy when someone needs an answer to a question and can't wait on the phone for it."

Since implementing the system, communication has improved so much a Holy Cross exec called voice messaging the "best decision the hospital ever made." Holy Cross is now operating about 300 voice mailboxes and anticipates increasing that number as the hospital continues to expand.

The phone system at Cabrini Medical Center, New York, expanded 30% since voice mail was installed in 1987. "The system is a tremendous labor saver for us," says John Sardone, director of communications. "It enables us to talk to each other without being interrupted all the time. Sometimes you can get the answer to a problem without ever being on the phone at the same time."
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Centigram's VoiceMemo
Publication:Communications News
Date:Dec 1, 1990
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