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Case Study: How Central Maine Healthcare Transformed Telehealth Triage


August 21, 2023

Central Maine Healthcare—Maine’s integrated healthcare delivery system

Office Locations: Three main hospital locations across Maine, and additional supported organizations and system services

Providers: 180 dedicated and reliable ambulatory providers who are committed to delivering best patient outcomes

Calls: 38,000 calls per year

Central Maine Healthcare (CMH) is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving 400,000 people living in Central, Western, and Mid-Coast Maine. CMH’s hospital facilities include Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Bridgton Hospital, Rumford Hospital, and other primary and specialty care practice organizations, system services, and other high-quality clinical services across the state.

Affiliated with Mass General Hospital in Boston, CMH strives to provide innovative treatments and easy access for patients all from the comfort of their hometowns. When Central Maine Nursing Contact Center was struggling to manage call volume, its new leadership knew that, to maintain high-quality healthcare services, they needed to modernize CMH’s telephone triage system.

No communication, no accountability

CMH had been using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR), common in large call centers. This system allows patients to choose an option from a menu category. But patients quickly figured out “speak to a nurse” was the last option and they utilized this option at a high level.  

That system had no standardization of communication, automatic call distribution, or call recording or tracking. The callback queue was never groomed, and it kept expanding exponentially.

The call center nurses were left without a support structure and accountability. CMH needed a change—and fast!

Taking steps to fix the problem

New Leadership at CMH saw the urgent need for centralization, modernization, and patient safety. 

“The nurses triage center was tasked with high call volumes, but was always showing high abandonment rates, amongst other issues,” says Maryanne Ponti, Chief Nursing Officer for CMH. “We knew that we needed to retool for more wins.” 

So Central Maine began revamping their telephone triage services. The new call center system would need several process improvements, including:

  • Rigorous documentation.

  • Reduced forwarding and improved handling time.

  • Seamless integration with Electronic Health Records (EHR) software and Practice Management (PM).

  • Preparing for Accountable Care Organization (ACO) savings from Emergency Department (ED) diversions.
  • Service guidance and task automation.

CMH found the solution in Keona's Care Desk, the only healthcare CRM built specifically for medical professionals.

The Critical Need for Centralized Nurse Triage

CMH’s initiatives to centralize nurse triage were driven by several immediate needs, including:

  • Addressing safety concerns.

  • Increasing access points.

  • Driving efficiencies into primary care practices.

Care Desk empowers more confident & professional service & support

Care Desk has been a resounding success for CMH. Keona’s user-friendly and intuitive platform has empowered Central Main to deliver more confident and professional service and support. There was a strenuous evaluation process to prove Care Desk was more effective than CMH’s previous IVR.

A comparison test was prepared with a centralized nurse triage center at the Lewiston location. Nurses were split 50/50 on each platform and side-by-side results were recorded. Health Desk far outperformed its competition:

  • 60% faster triage nurse onboarding.

  • 100% improved call documentation.

  • More efficient, quicker, and accurate scheduling.

  • A true picture of providers available in the clinic was created.

“CMH initially purchased Care Desk specifically for Nurse Triage and no other functions like scheduling,” says Ponti. “It proved to be so effective, however, that CMH now uses Care Desk for all but a few types of scheduling.”


Central Maine’s success proves that Care Desk is a highly-effective digital scheduling and telephone triage solution that optimizes call center operations. CMH has successfully standardized workflows and communications while improving care quality. Central Maine can now offer even more expansive and nuanced patient journeys and outcomes all across Maine.

Learn more

Keona Health is the premier healthcare CRM and patient access platform. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how Care Desk can optimize your EHR system, processes, and protocols. 

Contact Us: 919-377-9807

Posted By

Stephen Dean

Stephen first built his career in information technology, working as a developer for Hewlett-Packard and several start-ups. He received his MBA from Duke before co-founding Keona Health, where he manages all facets of finance, marketing, and operations.

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