If you’re a healthcare institution, there are some things that you really need to consider when you start looking at unified communications in general and drilling down into things like voice and video. The first one is you’ve got to make sure you have a super reliable and secure network. So you don’t want to be running all of your healthcare or video transactions, audio transactions, data transactions over the general internet. You want something that’s super reliable, tuned for applications, tuned for quality of service, an MPLS network, something like our Maxxis MPLS network.
The second thing is to have reliable voice infrastructure. So when you’re going to make and receive calls you want to make sure that those calls go through. If it’s an outbound call to a pharmacy, if it’s an outbound call to a patient, if it’s a patient calling into you, having a reliable voice infrastructure is very, very important.
The next one is maybe not really often thought of in the healthcare industry, but I think it’s interesting when you look at an instant messaging and presence sort of application, being able to see who’s available when, or if you want to get a quick consultation with another physician, or with a nurse, being able to say who’s online, a quick IM with them, can I ask them to come and visit me at a different facility. You could always page them, you could always call them, but IM and presence is kind of a nice sort of way of contacting folks just to see if they’re available and knowing that they’re available given their presence indicators. Something like Cisco Jabber or Microsoft’s Lync is a good solution for this.
And then last but not least is video. I think you’ve probably heard the term telemedicine. Telemedicine is an opportunity to take video and extend the footprint of a healthcare institution out to rural communities where they might not be served by a doctor the same way a metro area would be. To be able to have a video consultation, doctor to doctor, a video consultation between a doctor and a patient, or even something like an “Ask a Nurse” kind of a hotline sort of thing that moves beyond just audio conversations and might step up into an actual video conversation where you’re having a much better interaction and understanding more about what the patient is undergoing, being able to see them.
Read our blog post, Unified Communications is Changing Healthcare Technology, for more information about how the healthcare industry can benefit from unified communications.