HealthcareDIVE notes hospitals are under relentless pressure to find efficiencies that reduce operational costs without compromising patient care standards. In simpler terms: they need to do more with less. And that’s why hospitals across the country have switched to a cloud telephone system.
In this article, we will take a look at some key reasons that cloud phone systems for healthcare make sense.
Substantial Year-Over-Year Cost Savings
With a cloud telephone system, hospitals eliminate a lot of costly equipment. Gone is the need to purchase, support, and maintain costly PRIs, bonded T1s, or other trunk lines. While these are required to connect on-premises private branch exchange (PBX) to the local telephone company, they are not needed with cloud-based phones. This is because the system leverages the existing data network infrastructure. There is no need for a separate and very costly voice network.
Furthermore, with a cloud telephone system, there are no long-distance fees. Plus, adding users is quick and affordable. The built-in video calling feature can dramatically reduce travel expenses as staff can connect and collaborate face-to-face from anywhere.
Effective communication in a busy “controlled chaos” hospital environment isn’t just important: it’s essential. It’s not an exaggeration to say that in some cases, the quality, speed, and reliability of communication can be a matter of life and death.
A cloud telephone system connects all staff members on a centralized and unified platform. That platform is accessible from anywhere, including smartphones. Staff can instantly send instant messages, change their availability status (and check their colleagues’ status), pick up voicemails and faxes from their inbox, and the list goes on.
More flexible and user-centric communication cannot compromise compliance and security. This isn’t a concern with a cloud telephone system, which drives stronger governance and internal controls. Calls can be recorded for quality assurance and audit trail purposes. Plus, calls are encrypted from IP handsets into a secure network, and all data is protected in carrier-grade data centers.
No On-Site IT Burden
Healthcare information technology (HCIT) professionals are under siege as they scramble to handle everything from software upgrades to help desk tickets. A cloud telephone system reduces that heavy burden. All support, including maintenance and updates, is handled by the cloud solutions provider. Plus, help is available 24/7/365.
Healthcare Providers Switching to Cloud-based Phone Systems
Healthcare providers are increasingly switching to Cloud-based phone systems for several compelling reasons.
Firstly, these systems offer unmatched flexibility, allowing medical staff to make and receive calls from any device, whether it’s a desk phone, mobile phone, or even a computer. This flexibility enables seamless communication within the healthcare practice and facilitates effective patient care.
Secondly, Cloud-based phone systems are highly scalable. Hence, they are an ideal choice for healthcare practices of all sizes. As medical practices expand or open new locations, these systems can easily accommodate changes without needing physical infrastructure modifications.
Advanced features are another significant advantage of Cloud-based phone systems. Features such as instant messaging, visual voicemail, voicemail transcription, and unified communications enhance efficiency and streamline communication within healthcare facilities. Additionally, toll-free numbers can improve patient experiences by ensuring hassle-free access to medical staff.
Cost savings are also a major factor driving the adoption of Cloud-based phone systems. These systems eliminate the need for expensive premise-based equipment and regular maintenance costs. Furthermore, Cloud-based systems offer competitive pricing models and eliminate the extra costs associated with traditional phone systems, such as fax machines.
Lastly, Cloud-based phone systems prioritize security, a critical consideration in the healthcare environment. With robust encryption and secure internet connections, these systems ensure the confidentiality and privacy of patient communications.
Outdated Phone Systems Cause Issues for Healthcare Providers
Many challenges face Healthcare providers with outdated phone systems. One prominent issue is the limited number of lines available.
This can cause delays in patient communications and create bottlenecks, especially during peak hours or emergencies. As a result, patients may struggle to get through to medical staff. This leads to frustration and potentially compromises their healthcare.
Another challenge is the unreliability of traditional phone systems. These systems can experience outages or technical glitches, disrupting communication within healthcare facilities. Such disruptions can harm customer service, as healthcare providers may not be able to effectively respond to patient calls or inquiries.
The limitations of current phone systems may also contribute to decreased patient satisfaction. Patients expect efficient and timely communication with their healthcare providers, but these outdated systems may fail to meet these expectations. Long wait times, dropped calls, or difficulty reaching the right person can leave patients feeling dissatisfied with their overall experience.
Addressing these challenges, healthcare providers are increasingly turning to cloud phone systems. These systems offer scalability, advanced features, and greater reliability, ensuring efficient communication and improving patient satisfaction.
By adopting cloud-based phone solutions, healthcare providers can overcome the limitations of their current systems and enhance the overall quality of patient care.
Substantial Year-Over-Year Cost Savings
Switching to a cloud-based phone system can deliver substantial year-over-year cost savings for healthcare providers. Compared to traditional phone systems, cloud-based solutions offer a more cost-effective approach to telecommunications.
One of the key ways a cloud-based phone system reduces costs is through its pricing structure. Unlike traditional systems that require significant upfront investments and ongoing maintenance fees, cloud-based systems typically operate on a monthly subscription basis.
This eliminates the need for expensive hardware and maintenance. Additionally, it allows healthcare providers to scale their phone systems based on their specific needs.
With the flexibility to add or remove phone lines as needed. Thus, healthcare facilities can avoid paying for unused or underutilized services, resulting in significant cost savings.
Cloud-based phone systems also enable more efficient communication, translating into increased profitability. Features such as instant messaging, voicemail transcription, and visual voicemail streamline the communication process. The result saves valuable time for medical staff and reduces the need for lengthy phone calls. Additionally, the ability to route calls to specific departments or individuals ensures that patients are quickly connected to the right person. This reduces wait times and improves overall patient satisfaction.
By leveraging the advantages of a cloud-based phone system, healthcare providers can achieve substantial cost savings year after year. Lower monthly service prices, the ability to set the exact number of phone lines needed, and more efficient communications all contribute to increased profitability in the healthcare environment.
A cloud-based phone system offers healthcare practices and facilities a range of advanced features and tools to enhance communication within the organization. With instant messaging, voicemail transcription, and visual voicemail, medical staff can communicate more efficiently and effectively. Instant messaging allows for quick and easy exchange of information, reducing the need for lengthy and time-consuming phone calls. Additionally, voicemail transcription ensures that important messages are easily accessible and can be quickly reviewed or forwarded as needed. Visual voicemail provides a visual interface for managing voicemails, making it easier for medical staff to prioritize and respond to patient calls. These features not only save valuable time but also improve the overall communication process, resulting in better patient care and satisfaction.
Advanced call analytics
Advanced call analytics can greatly benefit healthcare providers by providing valuable insights into patient interactions and helping improve healthcare practices. With the use of a cloud-based phone system, healthcare providers can generate call analytics and reports that offer detailed information on various aspects of their phone calls.
One of the key advantages of using a cloud-based phone system is its ability to provide information on call volume. Healthcare providers can analyze the number of incoming and outgoing calls to better understand patient demand and identify peak call times. This data can be instrumental in resource planning, ensuring that medical staff and receptionists are adequately available to handle patient calls.
Additionally, call analytics can offer details on call duration, dropped calls, and voicemail statistics. Healthcare providers can use this information to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of their phone system. For instance, if there are consistently high rates of dropped calls, adjustments can be made to improve call quality and reduce potential patient frustrations.
Moreover, advanced call analytics can assist in evaluating agent performance. By monitoring key metrics such as call handling time and resolution rates, healthcare providers can identify areas where additional training or support may be required. This data can help healthcare practices ensure that their staff is providing the best possible patient care over the phone.
Stronger governance is crucial in healthcare phone systems to ensure the safety and security of phone conversations, especially for businesses working with the government. Government contractors, in particular, need to comply with stringent regulations and protect sensitive information exchanged during phone calls.
Cloud-based phone systems offer features and capabilities that contribute to stronger governance. Professional conference calling enables secure and encrypted audio conferences, ensuring that only authorized participants can access the call. Video conferencing provides an additional layer of authentication by allowing users to see and verify the identity of individuals on the call.
Secure document exchange allows healthcare providers to securely share sensitive documents, such as medical records or financial information, during phone conversations. This feature ensures that confidential information is protected and only accessible by authorized individuals.
Integrating customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with the phone system enhances governance. CRM integration allows healthcare providers to log and track phone interactions, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. It also provides a comprehensive view of patient history and improves overall communication with patients. ERP integration streamlines business processes and enhances data security by centralizing information and minimizing the risk of data breaches.
Incorporating these features and capabilities into a cloud-based phone system not only strengthens governance but also enhances overall communication efficiency and effectiveness in the healthcare industry.
No On-Site IT Burden
One of the major advantages of implementing a cloud-based phone system in healthcare organizations is the elimination of on-site IT burden. With traditional on-premise phone systems, healthcare facilities often need to have dedicated in-house IT staff to manage and maintain the system. This can be a significant financial and resource drain for healthcare providers.
By opting for a cloud-based phone system, healthcare organizations can reduce costs and free up resources that would otherwise be spent on hiring and retaining IT staff. The cloud-based system is managed and maintained by the service provider, eliminating the need for in-house IT expertise. This not only reduces operational costs but also allows the organization to focus on its core activities, such as patient care.
Additionally, the ease of setup is another key factor that makes cloud-based phone systems appealing to healthcare organizations. Implementing an on-premise system often involves complex installations, configurations, and ongoing maintenance. In contrast, cloud-based phone systems can be set up quickly and easily, typically requiring minimal technical expertise.
Furthermore, with a cloud-based system, healthcare organizations have the flexibility to easily add users and manage phone numbers as their needs change. This scalability ensures that the phone system can grow and adapt to the evolving needs of the healthcare practice.
It is worth noting that healthcare organizations also have the option to choose between a fully cloud-based system or a hybrid cloud solution that combines the benefits of both on-site and cloud options. This allows healthcare providers to have greater control and customization while still benefiting from the cost savings and ease of management offered by the cloud.
Overall, implementing a cloud-based phone system in healthcare organizations eliminates the on-site IT burden, reduces costs, offers ease of setup, and provides scalability options, making it a reliable and efficient choice for modern healthcare practices.
Improved Billing Processes
Managing billing processes in healthcare can be a complex and time-consuming task. However, with the implementation of a cloud-based phone system, healthcare organizations can streamline and improve their billing processes. The advanced features offered by cloud phone systems for healthcare, such as call recording and call analytics, allow medical staff to accurately track and document patient phone calls related to billing inquiries. Moreover, the integration capabilities of cloud phone systems for healthcare enable seamless synchronization with existing billing software, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing the risk of errors. This improved efficiency not only reduces administrative burdens but also ensures accurate billing and faster payment processing, ultimately improving the financial health of the healthcare practice.
Cloud Communication Healthcare Businesses
Last but not least: to become and stay lean and efficient, hospitals need streamlined billing processes that minimize the cost, resources, and time they spend on accounts receivables. A cloud telephone system is part of the solution in several ways. These include: staff can access real-time patient account information vs. wasting time searching for it; patients with overdue accounts can automatically receive reminder calls based on customized rules (e.g. 15 days overdue, 30 days overdue, 45 days overdue, etc.); interactive voice recognition (IVR) can facilitate automated payments 24/7, and patients can receive automated appointment reminder calls to cut down on the number of costly no-shows.