With many practice managers opting for cloud-hosted phone systems to improve patient access and to find precious cost savings, there are plenty of communications businesses chasing this opportunity. But GP surgery management teams need to be wary of rock bottom prices that could compromise call quality.
As a hosted telephone system is run on internet connections, the quality of the connection is key. GP surgeries use the N3 network for their data purposes and often other telecoms providers will persuade them to use the N3 to support a hosted phone system.
This is immediately appealing as GP surgeries can apparently use their existing N3 connection to replace ISDN and PSTN lines, which will find them immediate cost savings and will drive down the cost of new hosted phone system.
As a closed network, which is promoted with the ability to support quality of service (QoS) for voice, N3 should work fine. Having spoken to GP surgeries, we know this is not always the case. The underlying connectivity that makes up the N3 network is not always suitable. An overloaded broadband connection, already struggling with existing patient management software, will not be suitable for voice.
To eliminate this risk, swcomms supplies voice-assured connections to GP surgeries. These are separate to the N3 network, so no more traffic is put through these connections. The real-time nature of calls are fully taken care of so you don’t experience any drop-outs or loss of service.
Unless your surgery is fortunate enough to have a leased line or a similar robust connectivity service at your disposal, separate voice-assured connections are the way to go. Even with these connections added to the cost of hosted phone system, the monthly payments are usually still lower or equal to existing lines, minutes and support costs.
Once practice managers understand that using shared connections for data and voice is not ideal, they may realise the difference between prices given to them by communications providers. The main difference will be those offering a hosted service on N3 and those offering a service on voice-assured connections.
The lower prices may be tempting but they will soon lose their appeal when a GP surgery’s phone system does not work properly and patient complaints begin to rise.
I speak to GP surgeries every day so understand the challenges they are facing. If you need one of our experts to explain your options to you, I can organise that for you.
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