The emergence of COVID-19 ushered in a seismic shift in the way our society, and everything in it, operates. To isolate and ensure the health and safety of ourselves, our families, and communities, we made swift and necessary changes to our lifestyles and routines. We moved our offices and classrooms into our living rooms and kitchens with nearly everything we did hinging on connectivity and the ability to do things remotely.
These safety shifts were awkward, frustrating, complicated, and cumbersome. For the Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF), it created a paradox. The Foundation needed to pull back and quarantine, requiring that we physically shut our doors and send staff home to work remotely until further notice from state officials. Yet, for in-treatment cancer patients and their families struggling with growing financial barriers due to pandemic-driven economic repercussions, the need for JAF to remain operational was increasing exponentially as our healthcare partners utilize JAF as a critical resource for a family’s financial assistance. How would JAF manage?
A key component to our ability to maintain operations while working remotely was the Foundation’s partnership with Vonage, a leader in global business cloud communications. Thanks to unified communications capabilities via the Vonage Business Communications solution, in a time that required businesses to adapt or perish, JAF was able to pivot seamlessly to succeed in a remote world, overcoming the challenges presented to businesses due to COVID-19 and moving to remote operations in order to continue to fulfill our mission of providing critical support to cancer patients at a time when it is needed most.
“We are so proud to partner with organizations like JAF that are helping to change the world and bring much-needed assistance during a year of very unique challenges,” said Reggie Scales, SVP Applications Group, for Vonage. “Technology has the ability to make such an impact on so many lives. Now more than ever, our customers are embracing technology to stay connected and continue to deliver critical services to those who need it most.”
Implementing Vonage’s desktop and smartphone applications meant JAF staff members could work safely at home while confidently relying on their ability to remain connected to each other, our community, and our 120 healthcare partners across New England.
“Before our transition to Vonage, JAF did not have the flexibility to enable our staff to work remotely – such as the simple ability to forward or reroute our business numbers to personal or soft phones,” says Joe Andruzzi Foundation IT Systems Analyst, Deana DeSilva. “With the Vonage unified communications solution, we now have that seamless integration and much more.”
Our Programs staff works hand-in-hand with dozens of healthcare professionals in partner facilities throughout New England, remaining in constant communication with social workers and patient navigators who assist families in applying for essential financial assistance.
Maintaining reliable communications with these partners through the pandemic would have been a significant operational hurdle had it not been for Vonage, especially in a pandemic climate that continuously evolved throughout 2020. With the ability to stay connected and have access to all the tools, applications, and contacts they have in the office, staff members were able to work from home without hesitation or worry that critical calls from patients or healthcare partners would be missed.
Vonage solutions allowed us to maintain the same level of service to our healthcare partners and, ultimately, the cancer patients we help, says Program Manager Shannon Gallanty. “I know [with Vonage] that no matter where I am, a call will get to me.”
Additional features and functionality like paperless fax ensured we maintained our critical grant funding practices without interruption. As a result, Programs staff could effortlessly retrieve vital documentation needed for application processing – meaning grant activities would not be delayed, applications could be processed in a timely manner, and JAF could swiftly get funding to families who needed it.
“The Vonage Communications Platform – our single enterprise cloud communications platform – delivers a wide range of communications services and solutions to meet the needs of our customers,” added Scales. “As the need for remote and virtual medical care services continues, we are honored that JAF has chosen to partner with us in their mission to support patients and their families.”
Additionally, COVID-19 safety restrictions and work-from-home mandates affected traditional resource and support navigation models. Like JAF, many of our healthcare partners are largely working remotely, however, they have become significantly limited due to office closures. As a result, JAF has had to provide enhanced navigation support directly to cancer patients, their families and healthcare partners at critical points throughout the pandemic. Where a social worker is typically the conduit through which a cancer patient or family would request financial support, JAF Programs Staff is now fielding those requests. The increased connectivity through Vonage services has enabled JAF to provide this enhanced navigation support to cancer patients and their families and connect them with the right resources at the right time.
As a nonprofit providing critical financial assistance to cancer patients and families, the need to remain operational throughout the pandemic was of great importance to our Foundation. In-treatment cancer patients, their caregivers, and family members were already experiencing deep economic distress, and without warning they faced a new wave of pandemic-driven financial barriers. Thanks to Vonage, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation has elevated its remote operations and can successfully navigate the challenges of this new landscape – remaining dependably connected, operating efficiently and effectively, and most importantly, maintaining essential support to cancer patients and their families when they need it most.