What are the alternatives to ISDN?
There are two main options for a Medical Centre going forward; an in-house phone system connected with ‘SIP’ phone lines to directly replace your ISDN or a fully hosted Cloud phone system. You may have heard terms like IP, VoIP, SIP and Cloud before. In a nutshell, they all use a fast data connection (a type of Fibre Broadband) to make and take calls but there are a few differences.
Over the next few years BT are phasing out, then switching off ISDN, a service most phone systems currently run on.
But what is it, how will it affect your practice, and what can you do to future proof your Medical Centre? There’s no need to panic – stick with us and we’ll explain everything.
So, what is ISDN?
ISDN is a type of legacy telephone line that more than 85% of Doctors Practices and GP Surgeries currently use to make and take phone calls. In the 1990’s it was widely adopted as an alternative to the traditional phone line (referred to as PSTN or Analogue line, the sort you might have at home) but is nearing the end of its life as BT is upgrading its network.
What does this mean for my practice?
Well, there’s no panic yet as BT don’t plan to switch off the ISDN network until 2025, but they will start phasing it out in 2020, so now is the time to plan ahead. Having a good grasp of the changes ahead should help you to make an informed choice when buying your next phone system. The last thing you want is to be tied into a long-term lease for equipment that’s unusable.
A VoIP system, regardless of the type you choose, is a substantial improvement over ISDN. Here are just a few of the benefits:
1.) Massive cost savings – The systems are cheaper to maintain and your call costs will be much lower. In most cases your calls and lines will be bundled together so you just have one low cost monthly payment. Great for budgeting.
2.) Portability – you can connect multiple surgeries together or even add home workers for very little cost and at short notice.