Term: VoIP in Healthcare
Description: VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a newer method than standard voice transmission over an analog phone line. A few VoIP servies may allow you to communicate only with people using the same service, however some VoIP services have the capability can give you the ability to call anyone who has a phone with local, long distance, mobile, and the international numbers. In addition to these services, the VoIP service can be used not only under a computer but on a traditional phone with a VoIP adaptor.
VoIP in Healthcare involves transmitting healthcare services and information between physicians or other medical staff by means of VoIP services. Traditionally, the term VoIP would encompass exclusively SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) enabled devices. Any device that is SIP compatible can communicate with any other such device using only an Internet connection. However, proprietary software, such as Skype or Yahoo Messenger, can also be considered VoIP services; they just require that both parties engaging in communication have and are using the same service.
Some barriers to the adoption of VoIP in healthcare include security issues, unfamiliar or high costs, and possible workflow disruptions. The cost issue is on the verge of resolution, as Bandwidth.com (see below) and Verizon have formed an alliance to terminate one another's VoIP calls at the extremely discounted rate of $0.0007 per minute (the average cost for this service is $0.05). As costs begin to decline and overall integration of VoIP services begins to increase, we can expect a significant improvement in both the quality and the profitability of healthcare services.
While VoIP can be readily utilized to enhance modern healthcare services between and within major hospitals, the most pressing healthcare issues that VoIP can resolve reside in rural areas. In deep country regions where there is little prevalence of technology, and even less prevalence of experienced medical practitioners, healthcare quality can be very poor. In situations that necessitate immediate surgery or other complicated procedures, rural patients may not have access to adequately trained or experienced professionals. In these cases, VoIP can be, literally, a lifesaver. With a simple video call over a secure connection, skilled doctors can impart invaluable procedural expertise on rural practitioners, allowing them to perform vital and complex operations from hundreds, even thousands of miles away. Such a simple technology that is already in wide use can be manipulated in this manner to improve the healthcare potential all over the country at a fraction of the cost that such improvement may cost in other ways.
A major roadblock with VoIP in rural areas and poor areas is that VoIP needs two things to work properly. How big your internal network is, and the amount of bandwith that is arriving into the office. If the bandwith is insufficient for the facility's needs, the actual phone calls will be distorted and possibly not able to be understood at all.
In most cases, your VoIP data and voice information is traveling on the same line. The McEnroe voice and data company list three problems associated with this. 1. Is there enough bandwith to support VoIP at all? If there is not, the calls will have horrible quality, dropped calls, static and other issues. 2. Is your internal network programmed to handle the VoIP system in addition to your current systems? 3. Does your network havve a Quality of Service device or program that can adjust your data download/upload and give preference to VoIP during peak and down times. (McEnroe Voice and Data Mar 2013)
Web Resources:
http://www.mobilehealthcaretoday.com/articles/2011/01/bringing-voip-to-healthcare.aspx http://faq.programmerworld.net/voip/voip.htm http://www.cs.columbia.edu/sip/
Related Terminology:
•VoIP Installation - how to install the VoIP services
•QOS - Quality of Service
•Vocalosity - A Leading VoIP Provider
•Bandwidth - A Network Provider for VoIP Providers
•VoIP- Voice over Internet Protocol; the transmission of sound or video through the Internet without the use of telephone providers.
•SIP- Session Initiation Protocol; a signaling protocol that manages Internet communications such as voice and video over Internet Protocol networks.
•Federal Communications Commission (Dec 2003). Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Retrived from http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/voice-over-internet-protocol-voip
•McEnroe Voice and Data (Mar 2013). What are the Biggest Hosted Phone System Problems?. Retrived from http://www.mcenroevoice.com/voip/what-are-biggest-hosted-phone-system-problems/
•Bringing VoIP to Healthcare Retrived from http://www.mobilehealthcaretoday.com/articles/2011/01/bringing-voip-to-healthcare.aspx
•What is VoIP? Retrived from http://faq.programmerworld.net/voip/voip.htm
•What is Session Initiation Protocol? Retrived from http://www.cs.columbia.edu/sip/
Graphics (source of image):
•Federal Communications Commission (Dec 2003). Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Retrived from http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/voice-over-internet-protocol-voip
•Team Appneta (Aug 2011). 5 Reasons Why Healthcare Organizations (EHR) Need Network Performance Management. Retrived from http://www.appneta.com/blog/why-healthcare-organizationsneed-network-management/