More than many other industries, the healthcare field has a uniquely strong need for powerful phone systems. In the healthcare industry, no matter what size your practice is, you’re constantly using the phone to schedule appointments, follow up with patients, deliver telehealth solutions, and much more.
In the past, the types of communication solutions that large medical centers used varied greatly from the tools available to small practices. More recently, however, the healthcare industry has been adapting to modernized technology. As new solutions emerge, the possibilities for modern healthcare communication are also expanding. These cloud-based tools are effortless to implement, scalable, and, most importantly, affordable.
Even with smaller practices, implementing these tools can have far-reaching benefits throughout your business, affecting everything from staff collaboration to patient care. To take advantage of modern tech, it’s essential to take a closer look at why healthcare phone systems are so important and the unique challenges small practices often face. You may also consider taking an industry insider’s look at the most advanced phone system capabilities that are on the market today and how they can benefit your healthcare business.
The Vital Role of Healthcare Phone Systems
In the healthcare industry, phone systems are used around the clock every day. Unlike in many other types of businesses, these phone systems must offer robust capabilities as they’re used for much more than simply answering questions or scheduling appointments.
For example, telehealth appointments and virtual consultations give patients options when it comes to managing their health and their schedules. Doctors and staff also utilize the phones to provide education and follow-up care after medical procedures.
Internally, healthcare staff frequently needs to make calls between different departments, and of course, patients are also regularly calling. Whether it’s to book, reschedule, or cancel an appointment, healthcare phone lines are certainly always busy with calls from patients that must be answered professionally and promptly. Many hospitals, private practices, and clinics also offer appointment reminder calls and texts. With needs as demanding and diverse as this, a powerful solution is certainly required.
Small Healthcare Practices Face Unique Challenges
According to a survey by the American Medical Association, over 49% of surveyed patient care physicians worked at a physician-owned private practice. This translates to a huge number of smaller practices that all require powerful phone system solutions.
Yet, for small businesses, obtaining these tools isn’t always easy. Small practices face many of the same challenges as businesses throughout other industries, including limited resources, integration challenges, and a lack of in-house technical expertise.
To complicate matters, unlike other industries, the healthcare field has many crucial security and compliance regulations to factor in. Failing to adhere to stringent Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) regulations carries severe penalties, including fines and even imprisonment. Small practices must meet all necessary safety regulations on a tight budget, which can be very challenging.
For small practices, finding phone system solutions that are able to deliver the advanced functionality they require at a price they can afford can be particularly challenging. Functions like appointment reminders, automated cancelation systems, and after-hours access for urgent care are must-haves that demand an easy-to-implement solution for any practice.
Advanced Solutions to the Rescue: What Does a Modern Healthcare Phone System Look Like?
While it’s true that operating a small healthcare practice comes with many challenges, the development of new, affordable, yet powerful technology provides a reliable solution. Taking advantage of this technology can enhance your practice in six major ways, including access to call analytics, 24-hour patient care, scalability, and much more.
1. Around-the-Clock Availability
In the healthcare industry, emergencies can happen at any time. When your patients need to call you after hours and during times of crisis, your business requires a system in place for responding. However, this can be challenging when you’re running a small operation. To solve this issue, modern phone systems offer a range of simple solutions that can help. For example, you can choose a live, US-based receptionist to answer calls on your behalf and forward them as you desire.
You could also opt for an AI-powered answer bot for after-hours calls. This tool answers your phone with any personalized greeting you choose and forwards callers to extension lines or voicemail. It will even transcribe your messages and have them emailed to you. No matter what time of day it is, your patients will always know their call will be handled appropriately.
2. Seamless Communication
Traditionally, large organizations have had access to sophisticated communication tools that span multiple departments. Today, leading service providers have made this technology affordable to businesses of any size at a price they can easily afford.
Modern healthcare phone systems deliver a streamlined, seamless experience that allows any members of staff to easily communicate internally and externally. This capability is crucial for delivering up-to-date patient care and ensuring each department has all the information it needs to deliver optimal care.
3. HIPPA-Compliant Data Handling
Healthcare practices of any size know how crucial it is to ensure voice and video calls remain HIPPA-compliant. Leading phone service providers ensure secure and encrypted handling of patient information and even have other features in place to further protect your patients and business. For example, certain solutions come with an automated text responder. When a patient sends you a text message, they will be automatically notified to contact your office using a different method for security purposes.
Scalability is an important factor to consider for growing practices. Implementing a phone system that can easily adapt to your changing needs will act as a safeguard for the future, ensuring you can make any necessary adaptations without experiencing a service disruption. In addition, the healthcare industry often experiences seasons of peak demand, like during flu season. A scalable phone system can adapt to these changing needs without compromising service quality.
5. Access to Call Analytics
Gain more information about your calls and facilitate performance evaluations by accessing advanced call analytics. Effortlessly review call duration, time of day, the number of new versus returning callers, and more. Having access to this information helps greatly when you’re looking for areas of improvement that can have a significant impact on your patients’ care experience.
Call analytics may reveal areas within your patient care strategy that can be optimized, such as your call-handling processes and wait times. When you have more information about how your business operates, you can deliver better care.
Even small healthcare practices receive a large number of phone calls daily. With a modern solution, your callers can be greeted by an automated attendant, live human support, or menu options with hold music. In essence, your practice will always appear professional regardless of how busy your staff is.
In addition, you can implement automated appointment reminders to ensure your schedule runs smoothly and decrease the number of no-shows, no matter how busy you get. After all, the small details of patient care are just as important when it comes to providing quality healthcare services. As AI and automated tools begin to proliferate in the marketplace, even healthcare businesses can begin implementing these tools in a secure, helpful, and affordable way.
Considerations for Choosing a Phone System Provider
If you’re interested in making this powerful technology available to your practice, you’ll have several options to choose from. Identifying the best provider can be challenging, but by taking the following considerations into account, you’ll be prepared to make the right choice for your practice. Some key questions to consider from the start include:
- What does your existing infrastructure look like?: Do have current hardware that you’d like your new system to work alongside? Digital phone systems are versatile and can be used with any phone or computer that’s already in use. Leading providers allow you to keep your existing phone number and even connect any traditional analog phone.
- What will your future needs be?: The best providers offer scalability. Be sure to consider whether you’ll need to handle simultaneous calls, offer tailored call routing services, or enable automated messaging. Take note of any larger scale features a company offers, as you might require greater functionality in the future as your business grows.
- What features does your staff need to optimize their workload and focus on patient care?: Does your staff communicate internally using phone systems? How do they access documentation and recordkeeping? Do they currently have a hotline dedicated to delivering guidance to patients? Be sure that a potential provider can accommodate these needs that are unique to your practice.
After you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to move on to more provider-specific considerations, like whether or not there is support for mobile devices and how easy the system is to implement. When budget is a major concern, look for a provider that offers multiple plans and billing options so that you’ll only pay for the services and features your practice needs.
Start Modernizing Your Healthcare Phone System
In today’s healthcare landscape, phone systems have a big impact on patient care and satisfaction. No matter what size your practice is, you need a versatile solution that’s HIPPA-compliant and capable of expanding to meet your practice’s evolving needs.
Implementing the most advanced healthcare phone systems can help your staff collaborate effectively while offering your patients quality service you’re proud of. At Phone.com, we support the needs of even the smallest healthcare practices, offering customizable, innovative communication solutions for today’s business challenges. To get started on your healthcare phone solution, contact us today.