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How to Untangle: An Ailing Healthcare IT System

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Healthcare organizations share many characteristics with other businesses, including the need for a cost-effective, reliable IT system.

However, in a healthcare environment, lives can change in the blink of an eye, and that’s when your communications system’s reliability can truly become a matter of life or death.

In addition to enabling a faster response time in crisis situations, having the right communications setup also can help provide better care for patients and a better working environment for healthcare providers, putting the right data in the right hands at the right time.

For example, some unified communications (UC) systems let physicians take advantage of high-resolution video features to provide faster access to specialists. This can be especially valuable for facilities located in more remote regions.

Doctors can use video conferencing to get a quick consultation or second opinion from a specialist, who can help confirm whether a patient is suffering from a relatively common ailment or something far more serious.

There are several important questions to ask when considering a change to your healthcare organization’s communications system:

  • Does the system architecture deliver “five-nines” availability?
  • Can the phone system integrate with other business programs and processes to archive information that’s necessary for regulatory compliance and e-discovery?
  • How intuitive is the user interface, and how easy is the system to manage?
  • How much time will need to be spent training the doctors, technicians, and other employees to use the system?
  • How many employees and facilities need to be supported?
  • Does the system integrate data with communications, putting patient information at clinicians’ fingertips?
  • Will the system support medical devices, analog phones and other legacy equipment?
  • Is it possible to deploy the system in phases and incorporate new functions, depending on time, budget and facilities expansion?
  • Can the UC platform support remote workers and mobile devices?
  • Is it a redundant system with no single point of failure, so you can be sure you’ll have a working communications system, especially during a crisis?

Going to HIMSS? Visit ShoreTel at booth #679 and see the latest unified communications technologies for the health care industry.

If you’d like to learn more about how ShoreTel can help untangle the IT needs of your healthcare organization, please contact your local ShoreTel reseller.