Monday, February 9, 2009

SPOTLIGHT ON HEALTHCARE: Call Accounting for Healthcare

Patients and now governments are demanding that healthcare institutions improve the way that they deliver services. Long waiting lines, slow processes and inadequate workforce management are the core issues facing health care. Most healthcare institutions are grappling with tighter budgets and the ultimate need to provide efficient care for patients and communities.

Forward thinking communication managers are embraced the call for change and are consistently seeking new technologies to improve existing services. In many cases, this involves investing in infrastructure to support the technological requirements of the future including the improvement in the delivery of communications, greater accessibility and the capability to manage costs. These goals are equally important in large multi-site healthcare campuses and small individual clinics.

Building and developing telecommunications infrastructure in the healthcare industry requires a long look at how current telecommunications systems are functioning and where improvements have to be made. From every aspect of the health care industry, concrete data is required in order to manage the priorities and the costs of any changes that are being considered.

At the foundation of the decision an examination of current call detail records (CDR) is required. In many cases CDR reporting is used to identify bottlenecks in traffic which have to be addressed in order to provide first class care to patients. Calling patterns, auto attendant usage and busy times must be addressed when looking at making improvements and investments into new telecommunication infrastructure.

In addition to traffic reporting, many healthcare organizations do not have a single tariff structure across locations. Examining CDR across multiple locations can identify economies of scale and leverage their case for standardized and discounted bulk tariff plans from their carriers.

A robust call accounting system can provide management with the metrics required to invest in new technologies. An effective call accounting system will be able to integrate with any phone system and should be supported directly by the manufacturer to provide on-going reporting. A call accounting solution is an integral part of a total communication management solution that a healthcare institution invests in on an ongoing basis.

Detailed reporting before and after investment in technology can provide administrators with a wealth of information to continually strive to improve efficiencies and delivery of communications to improve patient care.

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