Are you constantly wondering how the day slipped away from you, longing for more hours to get things done? Inefficient communication practices often eat up valuable time, especially in healthcare organizations.
Many of these daily challenges could be permanently eliminated by eliminating outdated landline technologies in favor of cloud communications and Voice over Internet Protocols (VoIP). These constantly improving tools offer significant benefits, improving productivity and enhancing patient experience while assuring compliance with all HIPAA regulations.
Lack of familiarity with this technology has prevented many practices and facilities from moving beyond the equipment they’ve relied upon for decades. In this article, we’ll demystify how cloud and VoIP can save you time and boost productivity.
What is Cloud Communication?
Cloud-based communication tools, such as phone, fax, and other services transmitted over the Internet, have gained significant popularity in the healthcare industry. One key component of this technology is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which enables voice-based messages to be communicated digitally.
Unlike traditional communication methods, cloud-based systems do not require specific equipment to be purchased or maintained. They offer the advantage of accessibility from anywhere and the flexibility to scale as a business grows. By transmitting information and documents digitally, cloud communication eliminates the need for physical storage of health records and patient documents. Additionally, data is hosted in dedicated centers with robust data protection measures, ensuring encryption and enhancing confidentiality, reliability, and security.
Opting for a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based phone system provides peace of mind, knowing that protected health information sent via voicemail, text message, fax, or any other stored data remains secure.
The increasing popularity of web-based communication services in healthcare organizations can be attributed to their ability to simplify patient-staff communications, facilitate seamless collaboration among healthcare professionals, and offer economic, operational, and functional advantages. Whether it’s a single, independent practice or a multi-location regional health system, cloud-based communication solutions have proven valuable in optimizing healthcare operations.
How Does Cloud Communications Improve Patient Care?
Caring for patients is central to everything you do; every aspect of your practice must support that goal. Adding a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based communication system will significantly improve your communication with your patients. Few things are more frustrating to patients than being unable to connect with staff due to outages or competing calls from other patients. These issues are eliminated with web-based telecommunications systems, which are less likely to have downtime and can also answer and direct multiple incoming calls simultaneously. Overburdened and limited numbers of landlines are replaced by technology with modern features and capabilities, including automated appointment reminders via text, after-hours call routing, inbound routing rules that reduce hold times, and the ability to retrieve patient information instantly, no matter how many facilities the organization manages.
How Does Cloud Communication Improve Staff Communication and Productivity?
Cloud communication is more reliable and less vulnerable to outages than traditional landline technology. But beyond that benefit is the fact that staff can take advantage of multiple features and capabilities that go far beyond that of outdated hardware: a HIPAA-compliant system like the one offered by RingRx increases both reliability and efficiency, allowing staff to communicate via phone, text, fax, a mobile application, and an automated on-call answering service. Physicians and other key personnel can tailor their workflows to minimize inefficiencies, optimizing call routing and thus improving the care that patients receive. Among the features that RingRx offers are:
- Mailbox sharing that enables group task completion and which can streamline supervision
- Email notification
- Portal faxing from any internet-connected mobile device, laptop, or personal computer
- Text messaging with patients and HIPAA-compliant texting using our mobile app
- Ring groups that enable cross-sharing of incoming calls and texts
- Call blocking and filtering systems to prevent unwanted telemarketing calls
How to Select the Right Cloud Communication System for Your Needs
Some HIPAA-compliant cloud communication technologies offer compatibility across other applications your practice may already be using, while others do not. Similarly, some require that you use their dedicated cloud computing provider. Some, like RingRx, are cloud technology-agnostic, allowing you to run their platform for any provider.
Whether you want that type of flexibility or not, there are certain functions that you should look for to ensure that your patient information is protected and that you are in compliance with federal law. These include:
- Servers managed in multiple locations to protect against local failures and ensure that all PHI data — whether voice mail, patient contact information, faxes, or electronic health records— are accessible.
- Data and files that are automatically encrypted, with aggressive strategies to protect against hackers and other unauthorized access to PHI.
- Robust employee training for the proper use of the technology. Education is the key to ensuring that a HIPAA-compliant system is used to its fullest capabilities and that patient information is fully protected.
- Password protection and security at the local level and for cloud access.
- Any cloud communication system you choose should include auditing capabilities for both deployment and maintenance practice, and the phone system provider should provide routine automated audits to ensure that the system is only accessible by those with the appropriate authorizations.
- A vendor that provides a HIPAA-compliant communication system must offer a formal business associate agreement that ensures that all standards for protecting patient information under the law are met.
Cloud Communication Meets the Unique Needs of Healthcare Organizations
Like all businesses, healthcare organizations must improve efficiency and productivity while meeting and exceeding client expectations for service and has the additional challenge of unique needs and exacting legal requirements. Aging technology gets in the way of each of these goals and adds to expenditures as well. Cloud communication technology meets federal compliance criteria for protecting PHI, eliminates the costs of repairing or replacing hardware, and introduces multiple time-saving and efficiency-boosting measures. It offers tools and collaboration capabilities that are simply unavailable using traditional landline service, all while providing enhanced data security and an improved patient experience.
To learn more about cloud communications and VoIP, particularly RingRx, contact us today. In 15 minutes, we can show you how RingRx can improve and enhance your communication workflows and elevate your practice’s patient experiences.