Incorporating a VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol phone system, into your medical practice office can be beneficial but you should understand its limitations and risks.
Since VoIP differs from traditional phone services, learning about the system beforehand can help reduce the number of initial complications and frustrations that may arise.
What is VoIP?
A VoIP system or service is a type of telephone solution that can be used in an office space. The voice or sound a person makes on the phone is packaged into information and sent to other parties via an IP (Internet Protocol) system rather than a traditional analog system. Instead of packaging information and sending it through phone lines, the VoIP system sends blocks of information through an Internet connection.
Benefits of VoIP Service
There are some key benefits associated with a VoIP system or service. The primary benefits focus on the ability to use the system throughout an office and through employee computers. It is an efficient system that allows call transfers, long distance communication, and even video calls using an existing Internet connection and a variety of devices including tablets and smartphones.
The primary advantages of the system include:
- Simple billing procedures
- Easy call transfers
- Reduced phone service fees and no hidden charges
- Broader services and service levels, including global services, from some providers
- Ability to use the service in the office, at home, or in any location with a reliable Internet connection and on a variety of devices.
Since VoIP is usually provided by an Internet service provider, it is easy to combine services for a single bill. The system will also reduce the number of unexpected charges to an account because there is usually a single flat rate for the service and some local and state taxes may be eliminated. Since there are variations between service providers, the exact amount of coverage and locations where service is available will vary.
Disadvantages of VoIP Service
Although VoIP does have many advantages and it is a technological upgrade when compared to old analog systems, there are a few downsides associated with the service. By recognizing these possible challenges, you can ensure potential issues are handled quickly and efficiently.
The primary disadvantages of the service include:
- The time required to learn the system
- Initial set-up expenses can be high depending on the provider selected
- Some providers may not offer global services
- New hardware or software may be required
By ensuring your service provider offers a training program, you’ll decrease the learning curve and ensure the service can be used in the office. Initial set-up expenses can vary based on the current phone system. If it is necessary to put in a different phone system or purchase hardware, then the initial set-up costs can increase.
A VoIP system can improve efficiency within your office, but it is important to know additional training will be required and initial costs will vary. Consider limiting these risks by conducting a pilot test with a select group of employees to assure VoIP is the best solution for your medical practice.