Virtual PBX(TM) Helps Two Entrepreneurial Nurses Give Birth to Fast-Growing OB/GYN Answering Service

Innovative Service Fields 1,500 Calls Per Month, 24 Hours per Day

May 22, 2006, 01:00 ET from Virtual PBX

    SAN JOSE, Calif. and COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 22 /PRNewswire/ --
 When an expecting mother wakes at 3:00 am with a voracious appetite for a
 tuna and pickle relish sandwich, her first question isn't "wheat or rye?"
 It's more likely to be, "Which tuna is safest for my unborn baby?" And the
 first person they'll want to ask isn't their sleeping husband; it's their
 doctor. A quick call to the office of their OB/GYN provider will usually be
 answered by an after-hours answering service, which will then page the
 designated on-call doctor with the culinary question. Questions such as
 these, both urgent and non-urgent, make for sleepless nights when you're
 the doctor on call.
     Back in 2002, OB/GYN nurses Laura Hagler and Anne Afshari were working
 late at Penrose Community Hospital in Colorado Springs, CO when they
 noticed a harried doctor answering call after call that could have easily
 been answered by a nurse. "You should let us answer those questions,"
 suggested Afshari and Hagler.
     And a beautiful business was conceived on the spot.
     Today, three years later, founders Afshari and Hagler operate
 Exclusively RNs(TM) (, the country's first
 OB/GYN answering service staffed entirely by registered nurses who
 specialize in women's health. The company has grown quickly. Starting with
 that first client, the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based company now serves
 over 50 OB/GYN providers in Colorado and Arizona.
     Their successful service fields over 1,500 calls per month employing a
 flexible home-based workforce of 23 professional registered nurses
 available to answer the tuna fish call as well as more serious yet common
 emergency triage questions related to high risk pregnancies, bleeding or
 contractions. Nurses utilize a complete book of decision trees and
 protocols, written by Afshari & Hagler, to triage calls according to what
 each provider has personally approved.
     The easiest part of starting the business, according to Afshari, was
 the concept: They saw an opportunity to dramatically improve the quality
 and responsiveness of patient care, while at the same time freeing doctors
 from repetitive yet important calls that can often be better answered by a
     The challenging part of the business, however, was how to implement a
 distributed communications system that would automatically route incoming
 calls to their team of at-home nurses around the country, not all of which
 are on-call at the same time.
     They decided to implement a hosted PBX phone service, which could
 perform sophisticated call routing to their nurses, regardless of location.
 With a virtual company such as theirs, traditional on-premises PBX phone
 systems were out of the question, because calls needed to be routed around
 the country in real time. And, at starting prices of up to $100,000 for
 such complex equipment, not to mention the hassle and expense of managing
 such equipment, an on-premises PBX wasn't practical.
     Yet they still required features common with these expensive systems,
 such as multiple extensions, automated voice response, conferencing,
 automated call distribution (ACD) queuing, non-stop availability and
 reliability, music on hold, "follow-me" call forwarding to both cell phones
 and land line phones, and automatic cell phone text messaging notifications
 of queued incoming calls.
     Their first hosted PBX service proved to be unreliable and poorly
 supported. And then shortly after Exclusively RNs implemented the system,
 the provider decided to perform unscheduled maintenance on their servers in
 the middle of the night.
     "We work after-hours, when other businesses are sleeping," says Hagler.
 "When the provider brought down their servers, we were unable to answer
 patient calls for six hours. Worse yet, when the provider took their
 service off-line, they also disconnected their technical support number, so
 we had no way to reach them!" Needless to say, Hagler quickly cancelled
 that service and searched for a more reliable alternative.
     After conducting thorough research, she chose Virtual PBX
 ( of San Jose, Calif., the company who originated
 and pioneered hosted PBX services starting in 1997.
     "We found Virtual PBX to be superior in all areas, especially in
 reliability, features, and quality of customer service. The people at
 Virtual PBX have been attentive to our questions, and have helped us easily
 fine-tune the system to meet our exact clients' needs."
     Operation of the Virtual PBX system is straightforward. Exclusively
 RNs' clients simply forward their calls to Exclusively RNs' after hours, on
 weekends, or any other time. Exclusively RNs' nurses, who sign in to the
 system via a web-based interface prior to their shifts, take the calls as
 they come in, providing around-the-clock patient coverage, 365 days per
 year. Exclusively RNs' nurses triage the calls, and successfully resolve
 over 99.4% of all patient inquiries.
     Patients like the service, because they get instant answers to their
 questions without having to wait hours for a doctor's response to their
 questions when the office is closed. And in case of an emergency, such as a
 patient going into labor, Exclusively RNs' nurses coordinate with the
 hospital, doctors and emergency services so that patients receive the best
 service possible when they arrive at the hospital.
     Doctors love the service too. Dr. Donald Aptekar, 58, a physician at
 Partners in Women's Health ( in Denver, CO, says
 he wouldn't still be practicing medicine if it weren't for Exclusively RNs
 and Virtual PBX.
     A few years ago, Dr. Aptekar seriously considered leaving medicine
 because of the constant after-hours stress of fielding calls at all hours
 of the night.
     "There's no doubt in my mind that the Exclusively RNs service has
 prolonged my medical career," says Dr. Aptekar, who has been a client of
 Exclusively RNs since 2003. "It has definitely restored my joy of
 practicing medicine. When I walk into the office after a night on-call, I'm
 well rested and alert for my patients because I know the night's calls have
 been professionally answered with care and compassion."
     Dr. Aptekar's patients are certainly thrilled that he hasn't retired
 yet. After all, Dr. Aptekar was voted Denver's best OB/GYN in 2002 by
 readers of Denver's famous 5280 Magazine, so named for the altitude of the
 mile-high city.
     "My patients love the Exclusively RNs service," adds Dr. Aptekar. "The
 service provides my patients direct, 24X7 access to a team of friendly,
 caring and professionally trained labor and delivery nurses who
 successfully triage and answer over 99% of patient questions. Many of my
 patients actually wait until after hours to ask their questions because
 they trust and appreciate the knowledge of Exclusively RNs' nurses."
     With satisfied clients such as Dr. Aptekar, Exclusively RNs' Hagler and
 Afshari have big plans for their budding business.
     "We're growing quickly as word gets out about our unique service," says
 Hagler, "and we have plans to expand nationwide. We've only scraped the
 surface of what's possible with Virtual PBX. The service is packed with
 dozens of professional quality features, and it's so easy to use and
 affordable I can't imagine running my business without it."
     About Virtual PBX
     Virtual PBX pioneered the hosted PBX market, introducing the first
 service of its class in 1997. Virtual PBX utilizes the public switched
 telephone network and the Internet to provide PBX functionality as a hosted
 service. The three primary customers for Virtual PBX services include small
 businesses that want full PBX functionality without the capital and support
 expense of installed equipment; companies of any size that need to route
 calls to telecommuters or other employees outside of a main office; and
 enterprises looking for phone system disaster recovery solutions.
 Additional information about Virtual PBX can be found at or by calling 888-825-0800.
     NOTE: is a registered trademark and Virtual PBX is a
 trademark of, Inc.
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