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Telephonic Communication In Senior Care: Is Your Facility Properly Equipped?

Telephonic Communication in Senior Care: Is Your Facility Properly Equipped?

Modern marketers love to espouse the benefits of online marketing, especially social media marketing. A business owner today would not be remiss in thinking that traditional marketing strategies, such as TV and radio, will no longer benefit their business. For specific industries — particularly those that sell consumer goods — online marketing does work better. In other more service-based sectors such as senior care, however, this is not the case. In fact, research shows telephonic communication remains the primary mode of enrollment in senior care programs. 

Telephonic communication remains the top enrollment method for senior care.

Upwards of 80% of senior care’s business derives from referral sources. Referral sources can range from a local family doctor to a specialist in palliative care. When a patient needs specialty care, their attending physician will find the right specialist in their referral network. For example, if a palliative doctor in a hospital helps a patient decide to enter hospice care, that doctor will refer the patient to a hospice they know and trust. How do they contact the hospice for enrollment? They place a phone call. 

In a recent study, the MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care in New York, a firm focused on issues in end-of-life care, found that telephonic communication alone (i.e., telephone calls) still accounted for 60% of new hospice enrollments. The other 40% of admissions passed through community-based programs that relied on a combination of referral sources and methods that included some telephonic communication. 

The research demonstrated that telephonic communication is still king in senior care enrollment. 

Is your phone system set up for success?

If you own or manage a senior care facility, you undoubtedly understand that telephonic communication is a crucial part of your business operations. But have you invested in a modern communications platform? Many senior care facilities have yet to upgrade traditional on-premise phone systems to the cloud, which could cost them in the long run. Cloud communications platforms save on costs, are scalable, and markedly improve internal communications. 

Here are some of the benefits of moving to the cloud:

Reduce Costs

Hardware installations required with traditional PBX systems drive costs through the roof. Setup involves hiring new staff, paying contractors, and even investing in some construction. Hosted PBX systems require no physical infrastructure beyond the phones. Traditional phone systems also charge for an estimated number of lines, whereas a cloud system scales seamlessly according to your needs. This is particularly important in senior living facilities, which are expected to grow precipitously as baby boomers retire.

Make your communications scalable

Senior care facilities are a fluid environment. Residents come and go, so facilities need a system that can add and remove users regularly. Cloud platforms allow facilities to add, reassign or delete lines as needed in minutes rather than the days it may take to accomplish the task with a traditional system. 

Simplified operations

Any time a cloud system needs an update, administrators can log in from anywhere to input the changes. This is essential during construction, moves, adding users, subtracting users and dozens of other daily issues that can affect residents at a senior living facility.

More features

Cloud communications platforms offer all the same features of older system and more, including:

  • Call waiting
  • Conference calling
  • Caller ID
  • Auto-attendant
  • Find me/follow me
  • Call screening
  • Voicemail to email
  • And much more

Reliability Ideal for a Senior Care Setting

Communications are essential in a healthcare setting. When phone systems fail, it can put residents at risk. If they need immediate care, malfunctioning phone systems can slow response times. Cloud communications platforms are incredibly reliable in part because the hardware is located off-site where experts manage it. Providers handle maintenance and often have redundancies in place to help avoid downtime.

Outage protection

Natural disasters can happen. When they occur (snowstorms, thunderstorms, etc.), they can knock out traditional telephone systems. With a cloud communications setup, as long as the internet is still working, so will the phone system. These can even failover to 4G. Additionally, as a cloud-based service, the hardware controlling the operation may not be located in the same geographic area and may not be affected at all.

Integrated Mobile Devices

Cloud communications platforms allow employees to add their existing mobile to devices to the system, which provides for remote employment opportunities and makes it easier for patients to contact essential personnel at all times. Improved communications mean better response times between residents, staff and family members.

No In-House Management

Healthcare IT departments often operate at full capacity without having to worry about the phone system. Between monitoring equipment, scheduling maintenance, servicing terminals and dozens of other standard tasks, there’s not a lot of time left to add phone management. With a hosted phone system, everything IT related is managed by the service provider. Therefore, a cloud phone system does not increase the in-house administrative burden. 

The Takeaway

Research shows that telephonic communication is still the primary mode of communication for referral sources. As such, a modern, efficient telephone system is a necessary investment for senior care facilities. Cloud communication platforms offer tremendous advantages to senior care facilities, including many internal applications that improve resident and patient satisfaction in care. The most successful senior care facilities in the future will be those who invested in a hosted telephone system to improve their telephonic communication.

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