Unified Communications in Healthcare
A unified communications system provides a powerful business phone system. It's merged with tools for managing other forms of communication. It sends all your communications to a single platform. This makes it easier to connect with coworkers and patients.
The technology facilitates virtual meetings, telemedicine and collaboration. It doesn't matter where in the world patients and healthcare providers are. Document sharing tools allow you to share medical records and other important information. The system helps you maintain compliance and industry standards.
Why Unified Communications Is Important in Healthcare
Today’s healthcare professionals use many different methods of communication. They spend a great deal of time talking with each other and with their patients. Talk, text, web chat, email and video conferencing are just a few of the ways you may need to connect.
Healthcare unified communications systems enhance your communications by helping you connect. You can speak to anyone on your team, as well as your patients, from anywhere at any time.
Traditional phone service relies on old copper wires. Calls route through the antiquated public switched telephone network (PSTN). The phones can only handle voice calls and voicemail.
Any network security must come from your facility’s IT team. You can only use the phones when you are physically present at the facility. If you want to consult or collaborate outside of your office hours, you must give out your smartphone or home phone number.
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) moves your phone service into the cloud. This means that your calls will go through a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system. They are converted from analog to digital and sent over the internet. This also means that you no longer need to rely on desk phones and wires.
Everyone in your company can connect on their favorite device from wherever they happen to be. You can give out a single phone number and have it automatically forwarded to your cell phone or home phone. You can even block your availability during off-hours and holidays.
UCaaS also ties the rest of your communications into the same platform as your phone service. You can use a single platform to access your voicemail, email, texts, web chats and even faxes. You can also set up a video conference with colleagues or patients. You don't need to switch to a different system.
Other Benefits of Unified Communications in Healthcare
Unified communications technology provides more benefits for any healthcare organization. These include:
Cloud Contact Center
A cloud contact center improves the patient experience. It makes it easier to get in touch with the right person for answers. It provides medical workers with access to the patient’s history and details. A cloud contact center also allows staff and patients to move between voice, email, web and chat.
Security and Compliance
Security and compliance are serious matters for any healthcare provider. Failing to follow strict regulations on patients’ medical information could lead to major fines. You could also cause serious damage to your facility’s reputation.
Yet healthcare facilities are often victims of attempted hacking. Medical records are among the hottest-selling items on the dark web. Stolen identities and medical histories let crooks get medical care. Then they stick the provider and the real patient with the bills.
It's important to fight back and protect sensitive patient data. Follow all HIPAA rules and regulations while vigilantly monitoring your communication systems. Always choose a unified communications provider that uses strong security tools. Look for data encryption and documentation of HIPAA compliance. The last thing you need is a security breach caused by a weakness in your unified communications system.
Many healthcare facilities have been slow to adopt modern methods of communication. These include mobile phones, tablets and even employees’ personal computers. They may also use a handful of secure workstations for electronic patient information. These measures can help ensure HIPAA compliance and protect patient data. Yet they also lead to inefficiencies.
They can take time away from providing quality patient care. Unified communications technology removes many of these barriers and improves the patient experience.
A unified communications system helps you provide better patient care. It can also save your facility a great deal of money. The Ponemon Institute studied the impact of outdated communications systems on healthcare. Researchers found that these systems cost the United States healthcare industry more than $8.3 billion each year.
Healthcare workers lose time each day to managing their various communications. These time losses are passed on to patients. They experience longer waits and reduced satisfaction.
A unified communications system increases patient satisfaction. This makes it more likely that your patients will return. They are also more likely to refer their friends and family members to you.
Help for Staff, Executives and Clinicians
This technology helps your administrative staff members communicate more effectively. It's easy to get the information they need from coworkers, leaders and care providers. This makes them feel more empowered. It also gives them the ability to provide a better patient experience.
Healthcare executives can reduce costs and increase productivity, creating a stronger bottom line. They can also free up labor hours to focus on improving patient care. They can even consider expanding into new lines of service. For example, they might choose to provide telemedicine. This is especially helpful for remote or underserved patient populations.
Doctors, nurses, technicians and other medical professionals can access patient records. They can get more information as needed. They can extend their standard of care by dedicating more of their time to hands-on patient care. They can consider adding optional care services such as patient consultations. Collaborating with colleagues is simple, even if they are distributed around the world.
Benefits of a Unified Messaging App in Healthcare
A unified messaging app, such as 8x8 Team Messaging, is a subset of unified communications. It can be quite useful in healthcare settings. Unified messaging lets everyone in the company instantly connect. It uses a global directory, so you don’t need to send invites or add people to teams. You can communicate in real time, even if you are on opposite sides of the globe.
Here are a few benefits:
- Single experience: A unified messaging app is a seamless part of your unified messaging system. You can access all your communications in the same place.
- Cross-app connection: A unified messaging application has one interface. Team members don’t need to learn to use a bunch of different apps. Instead, they can collaborate in real time from within their preferred systems.
- Efficiency: Healthcare providers and support staff can access communication logs and share documents. They don't need to leave the unified messaging app. This helps everyone stay in the loop. It makes communication more efficient and reduces errors.
- Anywhere access: The unified messaging app will work anywhere. All your staff members and providers need is a high-speed internet connection. They can use their favorite devices. They can even decide how to access different types of communications. For example, they might have emails read aloud or voicemails transcribed to email.
One Solution for All Healthcare Requirements
Unified communications technology has become big business. In fact, Grand View Research estimates that the global unified communications market will reach $167.1 billion by 2025. The trend toward remote, geographically dispersed work teams is driving this growth.
Another factor is the sheer number of communication options that are available today. It would be unreasonable to make employees learn dozens of apps and platforms. It would be time-consuming for them to rotate between various options. Unified communications bring all communications into one user-friendly interface.
Not all unified communications solutions are right for the healthcare industry. Healthcare companies have specialized needs, especially in the areas of compliance and security. You need to protect patient data and provide the best possible patient outcomes. You also need a platform that makes collaboration easy. That's why it's important to select a system that is truly right for your facility.
8x8 Solution for Healthcare
8x8's web-based unified communications technology is an excellent choice for healthcare facilities. No matter what type or size of facility you run, it's easy to set up and customize. The system works across different devices and geographic locations.
Here are some reasons to choose the unified communications suite from 8x8:
- A single system for all types of communications
- Mobile integration software for remote workers
- Public and private chat settings
- HIPAA-compliant security features
- Fully integrated unified messaging
When it comes to healthcare, 8x8 provides reliable and compliant cloud solutions at a demanding level rarely seen by other cloud providers. Don't take your chances with a subpar cloud-based telecom system. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.