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Caller Display coming soon to all of MUSC

Dear Colleagues and Friends
I am pleased to announce our MUSC telephone system will soon be improved to include caller display. With this change, external phones receiving our calls will indicate a specific caller ID for most MUSC numbers.
Through the years, the generic MUSC 792-3875 number has made it impossible for those receiving our calls to locate the caller. We have averaged 70,000 unanswered monthly calls to 792-3875. By implementing the Caller Display, we will discontinue this poor customer service practice. 
As discussed in the article below, a Caller Display pilot project was successfully completed by a number of MUSC departments and service areas, including my office. It might take some departments a few weeks to adapt to the new Caller Display, but I am convinced it will quickly prove to be a positive change.
I want to thank everyone who worked hard to make this happen, including staff of departments who participated in the pilot project, our communications vendor, JTM Associates, OCIO-IS University Communications, and the MUSC Communications Call Center.
Thank you for your support for smooth implementation of Caller Display.

Raymond S. Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D.

by George Spain
Information Services
It has been a long time coming, frequently talked about, and recently piloted. In February MUSC will begin using the Caller Display number for the vast majority of the 15,000 enterprise telephones.  Calls made from an MUSC phone will now display a specific number on phones with Caller ID.
Considering the feature’s much discussed history, program managers were pleasantly surprised at the overwhelmingly positive response from the six departments involved in the pilot program.
The pilot project included “a range of departments representing the majority of groups at MUSC.” These departments included the President’s office, Radiology offices, MUH 5E, University Internal Medicine 8th Floor, Specialty Care in North Charleston, and the MUSC Communications Call Center.
While many in the pilot program admit to having reservations over Caller Display, the response was very positive. Caller Display is what is sent, and Caller ID is what is shown on the receiving phone.
“This is an efficient and effective system change, which positively influences patient–provider communication,” said Kimberly Harris-Eaton, nurse manager of 5E Children’s Services. “This simple change streamlines the connection and communication between the recently discharged patient or concerned family member with their specific interdisciplinary service team.”
Children’s Hospital Administrator John Sanders also commented on the pilot. “My hope was that by having a new ID show up on our patient’s phone, they would answer so we could get feedback from them easier…not only has our connection rate increased, but we also now get families calling back if they were not able to answer the original call.” He also noted a “better connect rate and callbacks from parents wanting information.”
“Those departments that had the most positive initial attitude to the pilot reported fewer problems,” said Pat Cawley, M.D., executive medical director. “But even those departments that were more skeptical turned in positive results after some tweaks were made to their pilot model.”
Bart Yancey, associate chief of staff in the Office of the President, admitted, “Our office was a bit apprehensive going in about having our number displayed as our direct line. But now, we feel generally positive about the opportunity to have customers and constituents seeing our direct line and being able to contact us back from missed calls on those occasions.”
To be sure, there were a few bumps in the road. Carolyne Feldman, clinical operations manager with University Medical Associates Specialty Care, another original skeptic, said that initially, we would get patients calling back on the number they see on caller ID which was sometimes an exercise in frustration for both patients and staff. “Now that we have used it for a while the callbacks on the wrong extensions have largely stopped.”
MUSC inherited its current display system after splitting from the state telephone system in 2006. The current system is a constant source of frustration to customers. Its caller ID displays only “MUSC” and 795-3875. When they dial back they are connected to an automated answering system that “counts” the call and hangs up. The automated system counted approximately 70,000 of these calls last month.
There are a few, mostly technical, exceptions to the Caller Display initiative. There is a feature to override the Caller Display from any phone on a per-call basis, but project leaders strongly discourage the practice and warn that the override causes the displayed phone number to show up as “private number,” which may be blocked by residential phones. They also note that the main reason for Caller Display is for the purpose of promoting MUSC Excellence as well as convenience of patients, students, staff members, and other customers.
“Caller Display gives the patient a sense of security that their message will be heard and attended to promptly,” said Feldman.
More information is available at

Friday, Feb. 5, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.