The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA SA) faced mounting costs from a legacy communications system, in addition to requiring an omni-channel solution that enabled easy integration into existing communication channels.more
By Hannes van der Merwe, Senior Product Manager for managed business services provider Itec South Africa.
Right now, South Africa’s healthcare industry is in a world of pain. The state health system is under-resourced and over-crowded. The private health sector is battling rising medical costs, changing payment models and a more competitive environment.
As ordinary South Africans, we feel the effects of this in many ways. It is sometimes a challenge to engage with healthcare professionals quickly and effectively, and our experiences of local clinics or hospitals can try our patience.
One of the ways hospitals and the healthcare industry can reduce costs and inefficiencies, drive better clinical outcomes and increase patient satisfaction is to use modern communication technology and streamline their operations. But ripping and replacing entire communications systems is not the answer, due to limited budgets and resources.
A cloud-based unified communications solution allows diverse devices (including mobile and desktop) to communicate quickly and easily through voice, messaging and video, and instantly share complex data, like medical records and reports. It should also be compatible with third-party applications like billing and electronic record keeping, and be scalable and flexible, so hospitals don’t need to keep buying new software or hardware.
There are three major benefits to unified communications in the healthcare space.
Better patient engagement
In its 2017 Digital Health Vision report, Accenture said modern healthcare organisations had begun to realise they should be organised around the patient, not the enterprise.
With unified communications, patients can communicate with their healthcare providers via multiple channels. No more waiting for a doctor’s rooms to call you with test results: you simply log on to a secure portal. Doctors can send automated reminders for appointments and prescription refills and improve patient engagement across all points of care.
The result? Hospitals are able to proactively engage with patients, and lower re-admissions. Patients and healthcare providers are more engaged, and the relationships are better.
Improved staff collaboration
Multi-professional healthcare teams spend a huge amount of time trying to communicate on systems that are often outdated and cumbersome. When lives are on the line, it’s critical for doctors, nurses and other staff members to be connected in real-time. Collaboration tools make it easy to share information and make faster, better decisions for patients. Most of all, unified communication’s mobile collaboration tools can replace the much-loathed pagers that are still in use in hospitals today.
The result? Real-time team collaboration. Quicker information exchange. Greater staff efficiency and productivity.
Better clinical workflow
The delivery of effective patient care involves many processes, and the ability of hospitals and clinics to streamline their clinical workflow through each patient encounter is critical to their effectiveness and quality of care. Unified communications support the entire workflow — from patient evaluation, diagnosis and treatment decisions — by allowing care teams to see whether other team members are available and enabling team collaboration.
The result? Care teams are better empowered to provide patient-centred, accountable care by being able to communicate through a single system.
Unified communications have the ability to change the entire healthcare industry for the better. It helps provide an enhanced quality of care, with better collaboration between healthcare professionals. It delivers better, more convenient customer service. And by driving improved efficiencies and better workflows, doctors can make the most of their time and increase their productivity.
All that hospitals have to do is choose the right unified communications partner, that has a proven track record and reputation in the marketplace – and voila, headaches gone. No Panado necessary.
By Shelley Brown, Channel Sales Manager at Itec SA
If you’re not digitally connected, are you even in business? That’s the question facing practically every business in South Africa right now, from large enterprises down to micro-businesses working from converted garages. Fact is, connectivity goes way beyond telecommunications: it’s the access point to a world of technology that’s allowing businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively than ever before.
The good news is that in 2019, high-speed internet connectivity is relatively cheap and freely accessible to all. With connectivity no longer the exclusive preserve of big business, suddenly we’re seeing SMEs reaping the benefits and efficiencies of greater connectivity: higher productivity, improved customer service, better communication, and smoother e-commerce.
What this means is that connectivity is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s an absolute must. If you’re not digitally connected, you will almost certainly fall behind your more tech-savvy competitors. Why? For a start, today’s technologies take away a lot of the effort previously required to run a business. Technology is streamlining operations, automating time-consuming processes, and putting information at our fingertips faster than ever before.
This is giving business owners two precious commodities: time back in their diaries, and new insights into their operations and their markets. Combined, time and insights allow you to grow your business much faster than you could ever have dreamed.
More importantly, though, connectivity gives you the ability to serve your customer better, faster and more accurately. If your people are all connected, on any device at any time, it’s easier than ever to be super-responsive and deliver the kind of service that keeps your customers delighted.
But how do you enter this brave new digital world without having to spend inordinate amounts of time and money on creating your own infrastructure? And who do you trust to navigate this unknown road for you? The short answer is that you don’t have to do much yourself. There are service providers who do it faster, better and cheaper than you – and you should be talking to them.
That’s the magic of the new generation of managed business services providers, which don’t only provide businesses with technology that meets their specific needs, but take care of the headaches like support, maintenance, compliance, security and encryption as well. This doesn’t just mean lower costs, but instant access to the latest technologies – which allows you to bring new business services online quickly as you need them.
The main thing to remember is that digital connectivity isn’t an event: it’s a journey. You can start with the basic phone network and infrastructure, and work your way up the value chain from there as your needs evolve. Suddenly, the digital world isn’t so scary anymore. You just have to jump in.
Shelley Brown, is Channel Sales Manager at Itec SA, southern Africa’s fastest growing managed business services provider www.itecgroup.co.za.
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