As healthcare is modernized, cloud-based communication systems are taking over

But as operator problems leveled off and people became more familiar with the system, both IT and administrative staff saw an improvement in productivity.

“Collaboration systems and software-based functionality offer great benefits,” says Taylor. “With this foundation, we can connect other communication technology. We have Webex and visual voicemail. We do not even need physical telephones for much of our communication. ”

Michael Lee, principal and senior client executive at BDO Digital, sees these benefits as significant to healthcare organizations.

“In the past, the telephone system provided one basic function: to make and receive calls,” says Lee. “In the modern workplace, it still fulfills that function. But it is simply an important part of a broader business need for collaboration and communication. ”

Next generation connections with upgraded telecommunications

In Texas, the Harris Health System was preparing to upgrade its old telephone system before David Chou took office as senior vice president and CIO in 2020.

“In healthcare, telecommunications are not always paramount. Either it works or it doesn’t work,” says Chou.

The organization’s foresight to replace the old system prior to the pandemic provided a much-needed base. “We need our telecommunications to be the next generation. We have already been able to recognize some of the benefits, such as supporting an off-premises workforce,” he adds.

Harris Health also selected solutions from Cisco. The health service experienced similar challenges when implementing its new system.

“Technology was the easy part,” Chou says. “The hard part was keeping track of the phone numbers that are active or inactive and what’s associated with what. It’s important to find the stop blocks that can cause a major impact along the way.”

EXPLORE: Learn how clinical collaboration has evolved and why it is important.

Flexible and reliable telecommunications to the healthcare sector

With more than 40 offices in New York and New Jersey, ENT and Allergy Associates (ENTA) had already hired several Voice over IP providers for their pre-pandemic calling system. But with problems such as weather-related interruptions and the shift to widespread teleworking, the specialist clinic explored more flexible and reliable options for revising its telecommunications system.

Serving more than 90,000 patients a month, ear, nose and throat, allergy and audiology practices were upgraded to cloud-based RingCentral to support more than 220 physicians and staff across its multiple locations.

When ENTA switched to teleworking during the pandemic, John Monreal, senior director of procurement and call center operations, said the need for mobility helped drive change.

“Our old VoIP system was not exactly remote friendly. It was clumsy and represented clumsy tech, ”he says. “We needed a solution that only required Wi-Fi and a laptop. We plugged in what we had and decided to go into the cloud.”

ENTA is heavily dependent on voice-based communication. About 95 percent of the calls are incoming, with patients calling to schedule appointments, refill prescriptions or ask questions.

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