Unified communications as a service, otherwise known as UCaaS, is a suite of applications that allow companies and healthcare organizations to communicate via IP and unify their communications on a single platform. Although options vary by provider and customer need, solutions generally consist of a hosted phone system, network-management tools, conferencing and collaboration tools, hosted contact-center application and a management portal.
Small, medium and large providers have been increasingly adopting the hosted model for the past few years. However, there are now plenty of reasons for strong compliant and regulated industries, including healthcare, to get on board. Here are the top six reasons why now is the time for healthcare companies and organizations to consider UCaaS.
UCaaS allows companies to move their voice investment from a capital expense to an operational expense and to reallocate capital dollars to more strategic projects or investments. UCaaS is also a predictable monthly cost, and in some cases, bundles the wide area network (WAN) expense, too. A fast‐rising trend in today’s business world is to put services like security, software, data management and analytics in the cloud for accessibility and reduced expenditures. UC is no exception to this trend, as it can easily replace costly and bulky on-premises hardware.
The “as a service” model supports automatic updates, meaning companies always have access to the latest features and upgrades with minimal downtime, allowing IT teams to focus on core initiatives. UCaaS can help ease the burden of the IT team while providing greater scalability for peak seasonality or disaster requirements.
IT is often challenged with bringing together disparate communications components, such as voice, video, email, messaging, conferencing, presence and social media, into a single cohesive platform. UCaaS provides a single source for all communications and ensures that they work seamlessly together.
This is critical in the healthcare field, where communication can often be a life or death matter. Cloud collaboration improves the ability to communicate from multiple locations, supporting instant communication and telemedicine. Healthcare professionals can monitor critical medical cases, respond to emergencies, provide training or simply share ideas and best practices from nearly any location at any time.
Every industry supports platforms and tools that are specifically designed for the needs of their professionals, such as nurse call systems, emergency paging and patient-record software. Traditionally it has been difficult to integrate communications tools into these systems, but UCaaS tools can be designed to work hand in hand with the platforms used in daily operations.
Especially in the healthcare field, security in the cloud is a foremost priority for any IT team. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations alone add a whole new level of complexity to designing and securing a communications platform. Major cloud communications providers supply high‐end cloud-based security for each client in order to secure patient information and help IT meet stringent compliance requirements.
Healthcare is a complex data‐driven industry where teams need the ability to collaborate and access information in real time. Physicians no longer work at one hospital, nurses are constantly on the move and the demand to be “always on” is at an all-time high.
Hosted communications unifies companies on a single platform, allowing employees to be reached anywhere at nearly any time. It also improves the speed at which information can be shared. Consider how long it used to take to transfer vital patient records. Today’s healthcare teams need immediate access to all of a patient’s history so that proper, patient‐specific care can be administered. UCaaS allows easy electronic engagement with a patient’s records, even across different hospital systems or physician practices. The information is able to reach the care team’s devices quickly so they can analyze the details on the move.
Healthcare companies that don’t consider making a move to cloud-based communications are at risk for being left behind by their competition, or worse, aren’t able to protect their data safely.