Metropolitan Health Group (MHG) has saved R4,5 million in the last two years by switching to open source VoIP solution, Asterisk in its Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) call centre.
MHG provides medical scheme administration and managed healthcare services to the corporate, government and retail markets.  Its solutions include fully-outsourced administration, system licensing options and integrated or standalone health risk management solutions.

The technical team under MHG IT infrastructure manager, Rod Russell, migrated to Asterisk when they heard they had to deliver a fully functional call centre in two weeks.
Working with open source telecommunications service provider, Connection Telecom, the MHG IT team created a 40-seat call centre in the required timeframe.
Administering  21 medical schemes across the country, MHG now has 130 out of its 570 seats running on Asterisk, and is looking to migrate additional facilities over time.
Starting with the basic Asterisk solution, Russell and Connection Telecom developed additional functionality specifically for the call centre environment such as call waiting facilities, an inbound, outbound call tracking and other operational data facilities.
The operators are connected to the network using HP Power over Ethernet switches and are using standardised SIP IP SNOM phones.
"We specialise in doing things quickly, we are a dynamic shop not given to working within regular time frames," says Russel. "Asterisk gives us fully functional call centres overnight."
MHG uses the Digium TE412P PRI telephony interface card that offers an on-board DSP-based echo cancellation for best audio quality. Connection Telecom has also received ICASA Type Approval for the Digium BRI and PRI cards.
MHG is rapidly growing and is employing an average of 1,5 people per day nationally. One of the key savings comes with adds moves and changes.
Russell says that there have been around 1 400 moves in the last year and the Asterisk system has allowed these to happen at no extra cost and very little time.
One of the greatest headaches for fund administrators is the onerous legal requirements. Asterisk is easily integrated into existing systems and currently interacts with MHG's E-mail exchange, workflow systems, database and fax services as well as allowing voice recordings to be stored.