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There is an almost overwhelming number of phone options available for your medical office. It’s both a good and a bad thing.
If you choose the wrong phone system, you could wind up paying for a fussy phone that’s hard to use and expensive to pay for. However, the right choice can save money, improve patient experience, and make each day a little easier.
Here’s a quick guide to help you find the perfect phone solution for your medical office:
Before you can select a specific vendor or solution, you’ll need to understand the basic types of phone systems. The three most commonly shopped phones for medical offices are traditional, on-premises VoIP, and hosted VoIP.
Some businesses still rely on older phone technology which can be cost-efficient and reliable. Traditional phones use copper wires which connect to an on-site boxy machine called a PBX that is usually stored in an equipment closet. The equipment is managed by a local or regional service provider.
Although some medical offices still use traditional phones, the technology is largely falling out of favor mainly due to lack of features. Also, the systems are impossible for remote workers to use.
However, traditional systems do tend to be reliable, especially during disasters. The call quality is strong and stable, as well.
Voice of IP phone systems has become the de-facto option for most businesses, with the total market size to reach $194.5 billion by 2024, according to a study by Persistence Market Research.
In addition to the many features offered by VoIP, the technology allows multiple medical offices to use the same line and can connect to remote staff as well. As with a traditional system, this VoIP variation uses on-premises equipment, including a boxy panel usually stored in the equipment closet, which must be maintained by the business that hosts it.
The maintenance can be a burden for smaller offices. However, large hospitals with big staffs and budgets are more likely to install on-premises VoIP systems for the added security and control.
A managed business phone system eliminates all the hassles associated with phone maintenance, including hardware, upgrades, and settings changes. The provider handles everything on their end and adds the cost into a set monthly rate.
There are several advantages to hosted phone systems for medical offices. For one, patients can quickly and easily be directed to the right area, improving the overall experience. For another, the calls are more secure, especially since lines can be terminated regardless of location, which helps practices stay on the right side of HIPAA.
Each office will be different, but in general, most healthcare practitioners insist on having the following features:
Is this easy for non-technical staff to use? An on-premise phone system that’s difficult to use can result in an endless cascade of support tickets. Be sure to test-drive the system if possible to get a feel for usability.
Is this system built for a healthcare organization of our size? You’ll want to make sure you can scale the features and functionality of the platform to adjust to the changing aspects of the business.
Does this system fit your staffing profile? Keep in mind not only the number of staff employed but how that workforce changes. Do you plan on growing or shrinking? Do workers operate mainly in the office or do they move around often?
Do we have the budget for this? Many new phone systems can cost between $5,000-$10,000 to be suitable for a medical office environment. VoIP systems usually offer a per-user charge of around $20 per user per month.
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