Project Description

Multitone EkoTek

EkoTek Case Study – Davies Veterinary Specialists

“We have been using the EkoTek system now for just over six months and we are delighted with the improvements Multitone has enabled for our business.
The improvements have made a huge difference to our emergency response, benefiting the patients in getting the right people there in a timely manner.”

Becky Hitcham BSc ABW,RVN, Diagnostics Supervisor

Davies Veterinary Specialists


Davies Veterinary Specialists
Based at its state-of-the-art centre at Higham Gobion in Hertfordshire, Davies Veterinary Specialists (DVS) is one of the largest and most diverse small animal veterinary referral centres in Europe. Founded in 1998 by Dr Jerry Davies and his wife Olivia, DVS now employs more than 30 specialist clinicians and 50 nurses – including 15 diploma nurses, and 20 administrators and support staff. The practice has recently updated its messaging system, with the help of critical communications manufacturer Multitone, so it can continue to meet the vital needs of its patients and customers.

With a varied selection of different specific disciplines, the DVS team includes highly experienced senior staff along with a number of veterinary interns in the early stages of their veterinary careers. DVS also has a large complement of nurses, meaning that team members are often busy and mobile around the site at any given time, so the practice requires an excellent communications infrastructure to support this.

DVS initially started using their original messaging system several years ago. The practice is based on one site, but with the facilities spread over several buildings on an old farm location (rather than a purpose built site). The nursing staff organise the procedures, having to organise the whole team of nurses and the clinicians and ensure they are in the right place at the right time. Becky Hitcham, Diagnostics Supervisor at DVS explained, “Prior to the original messaging solution the team used a tannoy system which also operated via our internal phone system. However the Tannoy system only worked in certain parts of the building and sometimes it would be a bit muffled and not clear – making it difficult to understand what the message was.”

The Need

The original communication system used an Access 3000 compact control system with 65 RPR753 pagers, charging racks, management terminal and access integrator, all installed in 2008 on a 5 year rental deal. As the previous system did not always provide the full service that DVS required, it turned to Multitone to provide a more modern flexible emergency alert system. Becky elaborates, “We wanted a system that would provide a reliable and rapid way of contacting the right person or team. With the original system we would dial in to either select a team pager or a user pager and request them to visit a certain location or to call that telephone. Anyone having access to a computer could type in specific messages to send to pagers, but the number of people having access to computers was very limited. Generally it was just the reception desk, so most of the time it would be just dialling in a pre-set instruction codes. The original pager system mostly did a really good job as long as people had the pagers on them.”

During crash situations the nurses could page individuals, but the process of doing this was taking longer than was ideal. Becky continues, “Dialling a code and following several steps to get a message out was becoming more of an issue with a potential animal fatality on the cards. It would only probably take 25 seconds to complete, but that can be a significant amount of time to wait when you are dealing with a critical situation – so the nurses used the old style tannoy solution over the internal phone system in a crash situation. Sometimes however, with the nurses feeling anxious the message wasn’t always immediately clear.”

“Also the tannoy only went out in certain parts of the building so firstly sometimes people didn’t hear it and secondly they didn’t know where they were supposed to be going. Sometimes we were having crash situations where the whole team would turn up to clarify if they were needed. We felt this was putting undue pressure on the nursing staff and was a waste of everybody’s time – whilst not necessarily getting the right people to the right place in an emergency situation. We felt it was something that needed to be rectified so we turned to Multitone again.”

Having appreciated its professional assistance and consultation for the original messaging install, DVS contacted Multitone to see what options were available to match their specific needs in an emergency crash situation. Specifically the practice wanted to utilise as much of its previous investment as possible, but to provide a more rapid and user-friendly way of summoning the right people when they were needed.

The Solution

In close consultation with DVS and its staff that use and rely on the messaging system, Multitone recommended it supplement it with nine units of its EkoTek system and supporting infrastructure, to make contacting key personnel more straightforward and rapid.

Becky explained, “The EkoTek product was introduced to us to run alongside our existing infrastructure to deal with emergency situations. Traditionally used in an emergency in hospitals, Multitone adapted it to use in our veterinary practice. It is exactly what we were after – with a red panic button that went directly to the designated crash team with a customisable message. It’s perfect, now it only takes the nursing staff a second to press the button and they can then get on with dealing with the patient knowing confidently that the message has gone to everybody on the crash team and we can be sure that the right support is on its way. We have fixed Ekotek call points in all the main locations around the practice including ICU, the main kennels area, X-ray, MRI, CT, ultrasound, endoscopy and all operating theatres.”

The Result

The benefits were immediately apparent, as Becky reflected, “The emergency message goes out to all of the crash team (which has already been defined on the system) for that one crash situation. This is all controlled from a central control unit and is generally maintained by a designated receptionist responsible for the entire messaging system throughout the practice. This role involves dealing with the operations/admin side, which includes amending the crash team members when required. The system is very intuitive and Multitone gave initial training on the maintenance of the control system which helped us to rapidly realise the benefits.”