Customer Story

Crouse Hospital

Customer Profile

Crouse Hospital is a not-for-profit,
acute-care hospital with the mission
to provide the best inpatient care and
to promote community health.

Patient Care Is Improved with Critical Communications System


Crouse Hospital is a not-for-profit,
acute-care hospital with the mission
to provide the best inpatient care and
to promote community health.


Using OnSolve®, nurses have freed
administrative time to spend more
quality time with patients.


Patients are receiving improved care,
staffing issues are quickly resolved and
the hospital system is saving time
and money.

Central New York’s Crouse Hospital has found a way to fill open staffing positions quickly, freeing nurses to spend more time on patient care.

The Hospital Environment

No matter what’s going on outside the building, once you walk through the doors of a hospital the most important thing becomes patient care. When outside distractions threaten to interfere with that care, all efforts must be focused on regaining hospital equilibrium and keeping systems humming smoothly.

The Problem: Managing the Ratio of Staff to Patient

Prior to the adoption of a critical communications system, looking for a substitute for a hospital staff member who called in sick required a nurse to step away from patients and start dialing the phone.

Finding a substitute with all the right skills took at least 45 minutes and sometimes as long as two hours.

That’s two hours that could be better spent with patients.

The Solution: OnSolve

The supervisor of telecommunications is responsible for processing over a million calls per month along with 4,500 phones, voicemails, and a conference bridge. He and his colleagues quickly deployed OnSolve, which slashed manual labor and let employees focus on their critical responsibilities.  Once the notification system was installed, administrators pulled together a multi-department team to come up with creative ways to use the technology to streamline all sorts of processes. When it was explained to the nursing staff that OnSolve could easily send an alert to many people on a variety of communication devices, reaching anyone on staff no matter where they happened to be, the staff came up with a brilliant idea. If they could use the messaging system to call for substitute nurses, it could save them over an hour every day, and they could get back to doing what they do best—caring for patients. After a short trial period, the new way of calling for substitute staff has become a way of life at Crouse, and patients are reaping the benefits.  

Nurses like the system because everyone gets the message at the same time, so everyone gets an equal opportunity to pick up extra time. This is not only a more equitable way of calling for additional help, but satisfies union requirements as well.  

As nurse manager Laurie Fegley, RN, BSN says, “This is a great tool for nurses because when they are short staffed they don’t really have time to make calls for additional help.” This system allows them to focus more on patient care rather than on the phone. Staff appreciate that they get to choose how they want to receive the message, with younger staff members preferring text messages, and other staff members voice calls. The system does both, along with email if that is indicated. Plans include making notification available to supervisors as well.

Alerting Staff Members, No Matter Where They Are

Using OnSolve, the hospital has reduced its dependence on time-intensive call lists and now can send out a call for substitutions to hundreds of nurses in just seconds. Noting that ease of use is one of its best features, the telecommunications supervisor showed a nurse how to send a notification with OnSolve. Within one minute, the nurse had delivered her first of many important messages. Using the optional self-registration portal module, nurses can update their contact information at any time, increasing the chance that all data is clean and current.   

The team is already dreaming up other ways to use OnSolve throughout the hospital. The College of Nursing hopes to implement it soon to notify students of lockdowns in the case of foul weather or class cancellations. The telecommunications team plans to use it for other groups within Crouse, like the New York State designated regional referral center for perinatal and neonatal care (NICU) services, Reverse 911 for department disaster notifications, the Decon team, or even as a “code blue” alternative. They’re in discussion with the physicians’ board about using OnSolve to alert physicians in the case of surgery room scheduling changes due to events like HVAC malfunctions. One efficient staff member suggested sending an alert when a parking lot is full to those who are just arriving for their shifts so that they know to choose an alternate. A volunteer coordinator plans to use it to warn volunteers when there are road closures or weather events that make it safer for them to stay at home that day.  

How Crouse Hospital Benefits from OnSolve

  • Quickly launch mass notifications – Any authorized initiator can quickly launch a notification by logging on the Web, sending an email or making a phone call. They can use existing message templates or create new notifications and recipient groups in seconds, targeting and customizing notifications for specific departments or groups. 
  • Reach thousands of recipients simultaneously – Initiators can easily launch customized alerts to any hospital employee by mobile phone, SMS, landline, email, or pager—whatever mode works best for the recipient. 
  • Receive useful, actionable responses – Recipients can respond by voice or by written message, with responses displayed in real-time as well as archived for reporting and auditing. 
  • Initiate instant conference calls – If an administrator needs to get a group of nurses or physicians together on a quick conference call, they can simply press a key on their phones to join a call to share information, make urgent decisions and coordinate response efforts.

The End Result

After years of using the product, the staff at Crouse Hospital continues to come up with innovative ways to use the power of OnSolve to gain efficiencies throughout the organization. The hospital not only has a reliable critical communications system in place when they need it, but they also have a technology tool that is as flexible and versatile as they need it to be. As time goes by, notification will become more common throughout the hospital system, helping Crouse Hospital offer the best possible patient-focused care and continue in their more than 120-year commitment of serving their community.