How Important Are VoIP to Healthcare Businesses?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology has been surging in popularity since the advent of smart-phones. The technology enables telephonic conversations via the medium of the Internet rather than through traditional telephonic networks. VoIPs are extremely flexible, mostly not requiring a phone number in order to function. The quality of calls is also improving all the time. Low costs and increasing flexibility has led to VoIP services finding a large and increasing number of applications in many industries. One area that is undergoing significant ‘disruption’ as a result of the adoption of VoIP services is the healthcare sector.
Telemedicine and video conferencing
Perhaps the biggest advantage of VoIPs is its application in the field of tele-medicine. This technology when combined with video conferencing technology enables healthcare providers to interact remotely with both their patients and their peers in a manner that was previously not practical or even impossible. Tele-medicine allows patients to avail high quality health services from the comfort of their own homes. It has already made a significant impact in the US healthcare industry. Patients are able to save significantly on hospital bills and hospitals are able to increase the number of patients served while also reducing instances of extended hospitalization.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 also specifically covers tele-health. Private health services have also been bolstering and expanding their coverage of tele-medicine services. In 2015, in forty-two states around the US, over 200 pieces of legislation concerning tele-medicine were introduced, displaying the commitments of various states toward telemedicine. According to a Cisco report, the number of telemedicine customers will rise from 350,000 in 2013 to 7 million in 2018. The tele-medicine industry was valued at over $15 billion in 2014 and the value is expected to be anywhere between $20-35 billion by 2020.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of the tele-medical services enabled via VoIP is their effect in the developing world. In remote areas where robust public health services are not available, tele-medicine is able to connect rural populaces with doctors to provide diagnostic services via visual and audio links. These efforts can be bolstered further by local health workers who can conduct basic testing and sample collection. For doctors working in the field, tele-medicine links enable them to consult remotely with specialists to improve the quality of care that they can provide.
VoIPs are incredibly cost-effective when compared to traditional phone conversations, with most of the incurred expenses going toward data bandwidth costs, which themselves are rapidly reducing in price all over the world as internet penetration increases. VoIPs allow the healthcare industry to save vast amounts of money on telephonic conversations which in turn can be rerouted to improve operations, equipment procurement and the quality of care offered. VoIPs permits healthcare businesses to enjoy internal and external low cost calling.
Priorities can be managed efficiently
Most healthcare institutions receive a ton of calls on their telephonic services and it is often hard to prioritize them based on a patient’s need. In this process, it is both normal and unfortunate that some patients with a greater need for medical attention are unable to reach out to a hospital because all available phone lines are engaged.
When a VoIP is being used, hospitals can use customer relationship management (CRM) and interactive voice response (IVR) systems to quickly determine the importance of a customer’s need through the use of automated questions, recorded queries and so on.
StarTele Logic develops quality VoIP applications for Android and iPhone, allowing users to make HD-quality calls, video calls, video messages, and regular voice calls. The company develops advanced, state-of-the-art VoIP healthcare solutions.