It’s no secret that red tape plagues much of the NHS. In fact, it’s an all too familiar story across many government organisations. Complex operations mean separate divisions tend to work in isolation and, as a result, information becomes difficult to share and inefficient processes ensue.
This can be seen in the health service today. Patients often move between GPs, specialists, and other parts of the system, while their data either stays behind or is slow to be forwarded to the relevant authorities. This siloed way of working is just one of the many problems the public healthcare sector faces. Combined with a lack of funding, a widespread skills shortage and a number of evolving healthcare needs, it’s clear that the NHS has its work cut out for itself.
Better spending on the NHS would help but it won’t fix the system. Instead, an overhaul of inefficient working methods and the introduction of modern tools is necessary for long-term improvement.
This is where modern telecoms solutions can help.
SIP trunking as a savings tool
Traditional fixed line telephony has been the dominant form of business telecoms since the 1990s, but today, newer forms exist. Cloud-based telephony is now superseding traditional ISDN lines to bring more efficiency and flexibility into business operations. Instead of relying on traditional copper lines, SIP trunking carries voice calls using internet connectivity. Organisations can therefore benefit in a number of ways:
There are 48% of NHS trusts currently running on a deficit. By embracing SIP trunking, NHS trusts can benefit from substantial cost reductions. SIP trunking has the potential to save up to 50% on line rentals and 25% (or more) on call costs. Savings can also be made through line rationalisation, because users only pay for the lines they actually use. By reducing the number of PBXs that need to be maintained, health trusts can make further savings on ongoing upkeep costs.
What’s more, by consolidating disparate phone systems and data networks into a single IP solution, time on overall network maintenance is reduced and calls can be managed more efficiently. Working with an integrated system across the full estate will align all of your operations, with little disruption – ultimately improving business continuity. All that time spent on admin can be refocused on more strategic project work instead.
The NHS is the world’s fifth largest employer, meaning its operations are inherently complicated and complex. SIP trunking can help ease fragmentation and improve communication across the organisation. This is because SIP trunking is more than just voice communication. It can also handle a wide range of other conversation formats, be it instant messenger or video calling. Added to that, new lines can be installed instantly with a quick online configuration. There is no need to plan and wait for an installation engineer and better still, online portals give access to call plans and endpoint management directly to your onsite teams, meaning no waiting for your service provider, either.
Healthcare trusts provide critical services to the population. As such, they need to be robust themselves. SIP trunking can help with maintaining service availability when it comes to voice communication. Calls can be rerouted quickly and easily without high call-forwarding costs. All the while, load balancing means calls during peak times can be managed so that callers can always get through. This is especially important during times of emergency, or high demand seasons.
SIP for the future
It’s clear that the NHS needs to modernise to ensure it can continue to meet the needs of patients, while keeping costs under control. But relying on old technology will add to the burden of administration responsibilities, which will continue to slow operations down. Likewise, allowing expired contracts to roll over without considering how new technologies can help is a huge oversight in preparing for the future.
Businesses in the private sector are embracing SIP trunking in ever-increasing numbers. It’s time the public sector health service does the same.
Adapted from 'How investing in telephony can improve NHS efficiency', written by Sam Winterbottom and originally posted to the official website of Gamma.