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MN Board on Aging

February 24, 2016 By Perry Price
  • Perry Price
  • February 24, 2016

Creating a secure and compliant blended media contact center that harnesses the power of the Internet became a mandate,” said Krista Boston, Manager – Consumer Choices Team.  “Costs were rising but our funding was being reduced. Traditional vendors and technology were cost prohibitive, far too complex and did little to address our application and security requirements.” As if that wasn’t enough, Boston had additional challenges as well:  “At the same time, our compliance requirements were increasing as well as public concern over data privacy. We needed to ensure the public’s trust in our services. We needed a secure solution for live chat, encrypted email and a more feature rich low cost voice solution. LinkLive’s solution delivered under budget and exceeded all of our expectations.

Minnesota Aging and Disability Resource Center Network Creates Virtual “Anytime, Anywhere” HIPAA-Compliant Unified Communications Contact Center


The Challenge

The State of Minnesota through the Board on Aging, its Area Agencies on Aging who manage the Senior LinkAge Line® and the Disability Linkage Line®, funded by the Disability Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, has 11 contact centers located around the state to assist seniors and persons with disabilities under 65 needing independent living assistance. Until 2008, the Linkage Lines used traditional telecom services to route calls and as a result had been experiencing increasing cost, especially with the ongoing increase due to Medicare Part D and related enrollment contacts from seniors. There was also a need to further integrate the Senior LinkAge Line® and Disability Linkage Line® into a centralized system that would create transparency, simplify reporting and enable call, chat or email overflow between regions. It became apparent that with increasing use of social networking and internet by seniors, there was a need to increase capacity for the anticipated growth. The vision included enabling live chat for the award winning™.

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LinkLive™ has allowed for secure transmissions in order to comply with federal and state privacy rules and created peace of mind for staff and callers. It also gives real time efficient communications between the contact center staff and program administrators at the state level who provide technical and policy support to the Linkage Lines. Prior to implementing LinkLive, the Linkage Line providers and the MN Board on Aging reviewed solutions from a wide variety of vendors before settling the secure unified communication software.


The Results

The Linkage Lines started by deploying secure chat and encrypted email to all users. This enabled any center to receive live chats and send emails internally or externally. They also moved the call centers to a secure Voice over IP (VoIP) solution to help reduce long distance cost, increase agent productivity, improve state wide business continuity and eliminate the need for capital expenditures. This removed liabilities and the live chat, email and VoIP meets compliance with federal, state and HIPAA privacy policies. Additionally, having the users in offices from across the state all share availability (Presence) created a more collaborative and team-oriented working environment. Each contact center has been using LinkLive for 5 years (beginning with the chat feature deployed in 2005). LinkLive encrypted email was added and the Linkage Lines moved their toll free numbers and all call specialist (agents) to LinkLive’s encrypted VoIP solution.

The Senior Linkage Line® has converted 11 contact centers to the LinkLive VoIP system. The MN Board on Aging converted and is supporting 4 Disability Linkage Line™ contact centers. The 11 Linkage Line contact centers answer calls from citizens of all ages needing independent living assistance. Anyone on the state-wide virtual contact center network is able to transfer and conference between locations using agent’s names and group presence IDs (no phone numbers). All internal calls, conferences and transfers are easier to handle and come at no additional cost. LinkLive voice services also eliminated the need for local phone lines.

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Several specialized pilots bridging multiple levels of government are also utilizing the LinkLive™ system to create local virtual contact centers. One is in partnership with Chisago County, Fairview Wyoming hospital systems and the Senior LinkAge Line® contact center in St. Cloud. The pilot streamlines the pre-admission screening process and an evaluation done by the Wilder Foundation has documented efficiencies.

A second pilot has been implemented between the Senior LinkAge Line® contact center in Mankato and the federal Veteran’s Affairs Health Care System out of Sioux Falls, SD which is serving seniors with Veterans Home and Community Based Services which helps them remain in their homes and avoid a nursing home.

All Linkage Lines include 150 plus contact center, community based and state support staff agents on one unified communications model at the 1/3 the cost of traditional solutions. The product provides end-to-end encryption and recording for chat, email and voice with historical reporting. LinkLive™ phone services (800, Long Distance & Local Numbers) alone reduced the Minnesota Board on Aging’s operating expenses by over 60%.


About the Customer

The Minnesota Aging and Disability Resource Center Network – the MinnesotaHelp Network™ includes six Area Agencies on Aging and the Minnesota Board on Aging – provides an efficient contact center model which lowers telecom costs, enables live web chat, deploys secure email and creates a virtual “anytime, anywhere” contact center for unified communications which meet HIPAA security requirements.

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