Uses of mobile phones in clinic

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All mobile phones should be turned 'OFF' prior to entering a designated patient related areas except as follows:

Clinical staff may be allowed limited use of mobile phones within patient related areas provided they agree to the following:

a) They will maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from medical devices when carrying a mobile phone that is turned 'ON'.

b) They will be attentive to unexpected medical device performance and immediately report any such incidents to their biomedical engineering service provider for investigation.

Walkie-talkies (handheld transceivers)

Walkie-talkies shall not be used in the 'TALK' mode (transmission activated) within 6 metres in any direction of designated patient related areas, or within 6 metres in any direction of a medical device. (The risk of interference is greater for walkie-talkies than mobile phones). Walkie-talkies may remain in the 'ON' position within these areas, however they should be kept in the 'LISTEN' mode only.

Basic Features

Residential and very low-end VoIP providers often claim to offer business-class PBX services, but except for very small organizations, that just isn't the case. Even the most basic businesses now require a set of capabilities that would not have been possible even for the largest corporations 20 years ago.

In addition to the default PBX features like call switching, call completion, call connection, call termination and accounting, the following should also be found in any premise-based IP PBX system:

Call Routing Features

Automated Attendant: An automatic system to answer phones with the ability to build phone menu systems, add call menus, transfer to voice mail and create flexible and programmable rules to handle all of these features.

Call Menus: Flexible call management menus with user selectable options - a more advanced version of the traditional phone tree/menu systems. A better-quality system will let you have multiple sets of menus and even change them based on time or on information gleaned from caller ID.

Managing Extensions: Features to help the phone system administrator, such as the ability to add new extensions, remove unneeded extensions, change extension locations and much more from a Web-based control panel.

Call Forwarding: Automatic, programmed or manual call forwarding to any number.

Call Transfer: The ability to transfer calls between extensions without going back to a central switchboard.

Call Parking: Essentially a group hold - put the caller on hold in a waiting area so that any other phone system user can pick the call up.

Messaging and Management Features

Voice Mail and Voice Mailboxes: Any IP PBX should allow an almost infinite number with far more flexibility than regular phone systems - more advanced features would include the ability to record all incoming and outgoing conversations automatically.

Call Hold: Placing callers properly on hold with no drop off in queues with user selectable hold music and programmable options about handling hold time length.

Conference Calling: Handling multiparty conference calls, internally and externally.

Web-Based Management and Administration: To make it quick and easy to manage your phone system directly from a Web browser - this can include the ability to add configuration and management functions as well.

User Directory: Some form of user directory and address book that is part of the phone system and is centrally updated.

Advanced Features

Other IP PBX features can get extremely specific, and the precise mix of features can make a big difference to business operations. Most of these advanced features come under areas like helping with remote offices and remote users, or programmability and flexibility of the system.

Management Scalability: The ability to rapidly grow or reduce the system under your control. Better systems can scale to handle hundreds of users.

Rights Management: Allowing different groups of employees different rights within the phone system for management, administration, usage and more.

Group Management: Managing groups of callers and call recipients.

Call Queue Management: Providing visibility into and the ability to manage incoming call queues. This can include specific call management as well as general system management of rules and varying loads, hold times and so on.

Programmable Routing and Scheduling

Call Routing: Setting up programmed rules to route calls based on flexible criteria like caller ID or time, or even next available extension in the designated call management group.

Scheduled Call Routing: Handling incoming calls differently based on time received - and even setting up several systems of call management that are all different depending on time of day or day of the week.

Automatic Ring Back Features: Features to automatically return calls based on various programmable criteria.

Call Screening: The ability to routinely screen calls as they come in.

Call Monitoring: The ability to silently monitor calls as they progress for purposes like sales training and customer support.

Barge in• : The ability to break in to a call between two other people - usually related to call monitoring.

Remote User Features

Branch Office Support: The ability to manage and remotely administer extensions at other offices just as easily as if they were local.

Features to Support Remote Users as if Local: One of the most powerful features of IP telephony is the ability to have remotely located employees work and appear to external and internal callers as if they are local.

Hoteling: Allowing users to make any physical phone in the system act as if it were any other number, so that any user can make any phone on the system act as if it were their own phone for any period of time. This feature is particularly useful for telecommuters.

Unifying/Integrating Office Systems

Full Outlook/Email Integration: Incoming calls can be matched with contact management records and outgoing calls can be initiated from within Outlook so users can click on contact management systems records and dial from within Outlook or other applications.

Voice mail to Email: Sending all voice mail from a mailbox to an email account where messages can be opened and listened to on a PC - as well as stored and managed.

Data Network Integration: Some form of integration into your basic data network so that "click-to-call'" functionality, integration with office documents, email systems or even full blown CRM systems can be added.

Click-to-Dial: Some form of click-to-dial to go from a number on a PC screen to a call on the phone without having to dial the numbers yourself.

Unique Features

Integrated Voice Response:

The system includes the ability for callers to navigate through menus using a phone keypad or voice responses.

Analog and IP Handling:

Many IP PBX systems can manage both VoIP phone and regular telephone systems at the same time - although not all functionality is available to regular phone users. This feature is useful for managing merged groups or multiple sites.

IP Fax:

A fax system integrated into the IP phone system. You cannot use regular fax machines directly on IP phone networks without some kind of interface.

Presence Features and IM Integration: Presence features indicate the status of a user of the phone system to all other users and even to external callers if features are supported. These indications can be as extensive as to indicate location, kind of devices by which communication can take place, and transfer between routing methods.

PBX systems provide small to large businesses with all the abilities and features that are available to large enterprises while providing the potential to reduce long-term operating costs considerably. As with any rapidly growing technology, there are a wide variety of providers a and range of features at greatly varying prices.

PBX systems can cost as little as $700 to install, plus the cost of phones. Operating costs can be as low as a few dollars a month. It is more important to make sure that your system has the basic features that you require now for the operation of your enterprise and for its future growth than to drive the cost to the absolute bare minimum. Unless you are already using an efficient IP telephony system, you will save money no matter what.

Basic operating-cost reductions due to lower call charges, the need for only one communications network and lower maintenance costs. A minimal investment risk, because your enterprise data network is your new backbone and it is already in place and functioning effectively. Straightforward installation costs based on tested, reliable components connecting to a system your IT personnel already understand. It is the last of these points that is most important and critical to the success of the upgrade. This is where the power of converged networks - combined voice and data networks - really comes into its own in terms of providing your enterprise with more tools, capabilities and options that it has previously had. The cost savings are essentially a bonus.