Operating a successful healthcare practice comes with a slew of challenges today: the difficulty of keeping up with new medical technology, competition with major retail brands entering the market, the need to keep up with changing government regulations, etc. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have an ironclad strategy for lean practice management—the future and success of your healthcare facility depend on it!
One way to give your medical practice a leg up is to find ways to free up cash flow and reduce overall costs for your medical practice. This requires taking a close look at how you could be spending your money more efficiently on various operational facets within your practice, including your phone system and telecommunications infrastructure.
When it comes to telecommunications within the healthcare industry, many practices are still relying on a CAPEX (capital expenditure) approach. They’re spending substantial amounts of money upfront to purchase telephone system equipment that they have to manage and maintain on premises, until it’s time to spend money again to replace the hardware 5-7 years later.
While CAPEX does have its benefits as a spending model in many scenarios, we’re here to talk about how an OPEX (operating expenditure) approach can actually be much more favorable for healthcare telecommunications in this day and age. With an OPEX model, you forego the upfront capital costs and instead contracts with a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) telecommunications system provider who charges your practice on a monthly basis. Most of these service providers offer cloud-based systems (systems that operate over the Internet), which will factor into the benefits we’ll discuss below.
Here are four factors to explore when you’re considering switching from CAPEX to OPEX:
An OPEX telecommunications model can provide your practice with….
1. A more fluid budget
When you transition from a CAPEX approach to an OPEX approach for your practice’s phone system, you remove the burden of your practice of having to tie up thousands of dollars in funds all at once. Instead, you can spread out those costs over a span of several years due to switching to a monthly service fee, which tends to be pretty affordable even for smaller practices. By making the switch (assuming you find a HIPAA-compliant platform that is a good fit for your practice), you can free up budget for other areas of great need, spanning from overhead to payroll to medical tech, or whatever else is on the top of your priority list.
2. Ever-up-to-date technology
When you purchase physical phone boxes for your facilities, you’re making a major financial commitment in the selection of the telecommunications technology your practice will over the next several years, which essentially locks you into a decision. With CAPEX, because of your upfront investment, you have to be able to anticipate the future needs of your practice not just at the moment of purchase, but also over an extended period of time.
With a platform-as-a-service OPEX model, there is less of a long-term commitment, due to the fact that you’re paying monthly. Fortunately, a lot of PaaS telecommunications system providers have the resources to invest in the continual improvement of the products—and because these providers tend to operate through the cloud, they can roll out new capabilities and features on their systems in real time. As a result, it’s much easier to stay ahead-of-the-curve with your technology.
3. Outsourced tech ops increasing bandwidth for your team
Healthcare IT administrators have a lot to juggle, managing the day-to-day needs of a medical practice’s tech needs (electronic health record implementation and management, cybersecurity protocols, network administration, etc.). So, rarely do they have the time or the desire to focus an extensive amount of their time maintaining their practice’s phone system.
By outsourcing your telecommunications platform and related tech operations to a remote telecommunications provider, you and your healthcare IT team no longer have to worry about that burden, as your remote provider is able to do it for you. With a remote, cloud-based system that operates on a monthly subscription, your team is able to eliminate the need for on-site equipment maintenance and troubleshooting due to hardware failures. It’s also worth noting that telecommunications platform and service plans can usually be adjusted to allow your IT team to be as hands-on or hands-off as you like.
4. Increased scalability for growing practices
By switching to a monthly service model for your telecommunications system, it’s easier to scale up your services as needed. If you decide to open an additional location for your medical practice, there’s no need to find the funds to purchase another on-premises phone box and make another long-term investment, which can take a considerable amount of time. Intead, you can simply bump up your service plan, which is much more cost-effective. Plus, you’ll be able to launch the added service immediately since these types of platforms are usually powered by remote servers and switched on immediately through the cloud.
RingRx is a HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based phone system that is available to healthcare providers, from solo physician offices to multi-location hospitals and clinics at reasonable monthly plans. We provide the healthcare industry with technology and services that simplify and streamline their communications so they can operate more efficiently and better serve their patients.