It’s Time for Healthcare Communications to Move to the Cloud
As healthcare enterprises -- including hospitals, retail or hospital-based clinics, physicians’ practices and the myriad of other healthcare-related businesses -- move away from on-site PBX model of communications to a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) model, many IT/telecom decision-makers are increasingly asking themselves—and asking Mitel—why they should move to the cloud.
Concerns about security top the list of issues, although we also hear that companies are not ready to give up on the expensive PBX systems that were purchased not all that long ago. These are legitimate concerns.
Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution, Mitel and its partners work closely with organizations to aid in the transition to a UCaaS solution, helping them protect their investments and make the change on their own terms, according to their own timeline.
Bottom line: In addition to offering further functionality such as mobility, switching to a UCaaS model saves healthcare enterprises money and time, while boosting operating efficiencies and meeting stringent healthcare compliance requirements.
What is unified communications as a service?
Unified communications are the integration of tools for modern business communications. This may include:
- Instant messaging
- Customer relationship management (CRM) tools
- Cloud-based apps
- Mobile apps
- Social media
- Teleconferencing/web-conferencing tools
- Email integration
- Data center/colocation services
- Fiber-optic Internet connectivity
I'm already using some of those tools!
Are they unified?
Your healthcare facility can achieve better productivity and transparency by connecting your various communication platforms and tools. Missed calls to an office line can ring directly to an employee's cell phone. Social media data can integrate with your CRM to provide deeper insight into your patient-centered care.
Your employees can work smarter with greater accuracy and less lost information if your tools are unified. Some research indicates that unified tools can save companies tens of thousands of dollars each year based on sheer productivity gains.
The benefits of moving healthcare to the cloud
Moving from a traditional, on-site PBX model to a UCaaS solution can lead to significant savings. Not only will you save big by not investing in a rapidly depreciating asset, but you will also save staff time that formerly was devoted to installing, maintaining, upgrading and problem-solving your on-site system. Another benefit is that the UCaaS model allows you to deploy on your timeline, keeping your existing communications system running as you gradually roll out the new solution across your facility. UCaaS pricing shifts cloud costs from the traditional capex model, typically requiring board approval, to an opex model, which is typically within healthcare facilities’ fiscal control and does not require direct board approval.
Staffing is also a factor. Because enterprise unified communications are becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex, if you do opt for an on-site solution, you must continually invest in your staff to keep up with the industry. Relying on staff to add new features and upgrades while maintaining the infrastructure becomes burdensome and costly. UCaaS allows you to offload most of this complexity to an experienced UCaaS service provider. In doing so, you can have access to the latest versions and features—ensuring that your team is as productive as possible.
Scalability and availability
Scalability makes a move to the cloud easy for your facility. A move to the cloud gives you the flexibility to quickly increase your capacity without the need for additional capital or staff, taking advantage of on-demand resources from the provider.
Examples include acquiring or adding new locations and quickly assimilating them into your communications environment, or hiring seasonal employees around the holidays to staff up your contact center.
This model also delivers redundancy: because system recovery is built into the UCaaS solution, in the case of a disaster or system failure, the built-in redundancy of the platform makes it possible to keep your communications system going no matter where in the world you are located, helping you meet Business Continuity requisites for The Joint Commission: Accreditation, Health Care, Certification (JCAHO) accreditation.
No doubt you are cautious, and rightfully so, about putting your data in the cloud. However, Mitel’s UCaaS Cloud solutions are compliant through HIPAA audits with Business Associate Agreements and SOC 2 Type I certifications, are better positioned to combat a security breach and are more likely to have discipline around redundancy of data. Any data center and network architecture built to meet these standards will provide security, without the upfront costs of implementing that security in your own data center.
For highly regulated industries like healthcare, education, financial, legal and government, having official certification for HIPAA and SOC 2 for Mitel Cloud services enable deeper penetration into these verticals. Mitel’s continued commitment to build security into all aspects of our cloud services and put the necessary controls in place to maintain the highest levels of security and availability are realized with this certification. HIPAA and SOC 2 compliance by an external third-party auditor provides the base-line requisites for consideration as a healthcare solutions partner.
Tips for success
- Take the time to understand the cloud communications solutions and technologies available in the market.
- Leverage resources from unified communications industry analysts.
- Minimize costs by repurposing existing equipment, such as headsets and phone sets, whenever possible.
- Consider partnering with a Mitel Managed Services Provider to take on legacy system maintenance and carrier services management while you make the best healthcare cloud communications transition for your facility.