Before examining senior living facilities with an eye toward installing a Hosted PBX system, it’s important to understand what these systems are and how they work. PBX stands for private branch exchange, a term that refers to business phone systems that manage multiple, local employee lines. When first introduced, this technology involved a “trunk” of lines and a switchboard control system.
Hosted PBX phone systems deliver the same features and control, but instead of installing hardware, phone service is deployed via a broadband internet connection. Using a hosted PBX, an organization can distribute one number that allows contact with the entire organization, regardless of location. This new way of handling communication, both internally and externally, offers some significant benefits to senior living facilities.
1. Reduce Utility Costs
The hardware installations required with a traditional PBX system drove the costs through the roof, and sometimes even required construction. With hosted PBX systems, there is no physical infrastructure beyond the phones. There is also no need to pay for estimated lines that may never be used or install for potential growth. Instead, the lower setup and programming costs ensure that companies only pay for lines currently in use. This is particularly important in senior living facilities, which are expected to grow as more of the 74.1 million baby boomers retire and age into senior living facilities.
2. Scale Up or Down Easily
In a senior living facility, users change on a regular basis. Residents come and go, and each of them needs access to a personal telephone. With the easy scalability of a hosted PBX system, facilities can add, reassign or delete lines as needed. Using older technology, this process could take days or weeks. Using a hosted PBX, administrative tasks take minutes or hours at most.
3. Reconfigurations Are Simple
Using a hosted PBX allows easier and faster management because it is hosted in the cloud. That means any time the system needs to update, administrators can login from anywhere to load 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. Plus, as a facility is reorganizing or changing the layout, the cost of moving is reduced since there is no need to run additional cable.
4. Feature-Rich Systems Streamline Communications
All of the standard business functions come with a hosted PBX system, including:
- Call waiting
- Conference calling
- Caller ID
- Find me/follow me
- Call screening
- Voicemail to email
- And much more
Businesses with multiple locations can act seamlessly, transferring and taking calls at any location. That means a senior living facility with many branches can help locate a resident, even if a caller is contacting the wrong location.
5. Extreme Reliability Ideal for a Healthcare 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. Hosted PBX systems are extremely reliable, in part because the hardware is located off-site, where it is managed by experts. Providers handle maintenance and often have redundancies in place to help avoid downtime.
6. Internal Communications Made Easy
Nurse calling, intercoms and other internal communications are possible features that can help improve resident satisfaction at senior living facilities.
7. Integrated Mobile Devices
By allowing employees to add their existing mobile to devices to the PBX, facilities allow for remote employment opportunities and make it easier for patients to contact essential personnel at all times. Improved communications means better response times between residents, staff and family members.
8. Better Disaster Recovery
Natural disasters can happen. When they happen (snow storms, thunderstorms, etc.) they can knock out traditional telephone systems. With a hosted PBX, as long as the internet is still working, so will the phone system. Additionally, as a cloud-based service, the hardware controlling the system may not be located in the same geographic area and may not be affected at all.
9. Faster Uptimes
Senior residents have little ability to communicate with the outside world. Their telephones and internet connection represent their only means of connection. When these services cease to function, it can be traumatic when service is not restored quickly. With a traditional PBX system, facilities must wait until a physical repair happens on site. A hosted PBX means that automatic recovery processes begin as soon as there is an issue with a server. Providers can demonstrate usual recovery times, which are often measured in minutes, not days or weeks.
10. No In-House Management
Healthcare IT departments are often operating at full capacity. 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 PBX system, changes are easy to manage through an online portal, and facilities can work with a partner to avoid any in-house issues.
Ultimately, hosted PBX is less expensive, while also being more responsive, scalable, feature-rich and reliable. While many senior living facilities still depend on legacy systems for telephony services, the extensive capabilities offered through a hosted PBX are a clear upgrade.