Small Medical Office IP Phone System

Small Medical Office IP Phone System

I get asked by Medical Office Managers what I would recommend for a Small Office with 7 people.  Of course my answer always was:  Depends on what you are planning to accomplish.  I usually tell them that I will contact them in a few weeks to determine their needs and help them decide on the right system.

This got me thinking about my answer and what the typical end users know about IP PBX or Phone Systems in general.  I, as a technical person, can understand and comprehend the terms and theories thrown around by other technical person.  However, the end users typically do not understand it.  Sort of the reason why I never really understand what my doctor tells me.  :)

So this article will address how I would configure and install an Asterisk IP PBX for a Small Medical Office of 7 person

For the staff to be both efficient and productive, a proper IP phone that meets their needs are crucial.  For a Medical Office, there will be at least one receptionist, one or two doctors, and few nurses.  Of course there will be multiple examination rooms which might need their own IP Phones.  Finally, an IP Phone in the lobby area might be handy for the guests to use.

Receptionists will typically be on the phone all day long answering multiple lines, transferring calls, and be mobile at the same time.  With this in mind, I recommend a 6 line IP Phone such as GrandStream GXP2120 where we can install all incoming phone numbers.  This will allow me to program the IP Phone with specific numbers that each doctors use, or different departments increasing efficiency.  The phone can also be programmed with all the internal extensions which will allow the receptionist transfer calls quicker by hitting fewer buttons.

A feature of an Asterisk IP PBX system is Call Parking.  This feature allows the receptionist to transfer and HOLD a call in a specific virtual extension.  This is handy when the caller is asking for a specific person that is not available at the moment.  The parked caller will be on hold until the person is available and dials the virtual extension.

Another feature that will be beneficial to the receptionist is the Calling Queue.  This feature will place the incoming calls in a queue where it is answered in sequential order.  This feature in addition to Call Parking will allow a Medical Office to efficiently handle all incoming calls with ease.

A wireless headset is also crucial for the receptionist as it allow him/her to speak while away from the reception area for multi-tasking.  A good system will also have remote answering capability so that the receptionist can answer calls while they are away from the desk.


Doctors have varying needs of course.  Some doctors I know will be perfectly happy with a basic IP Phone while some are more technical and want the latest and the greatest.  Either way, they want a reliable IP Phone with a good speakerphone, and a headset port.  A nice high resolution display to show all of the CallerID and dialing information will be ideal.

One thing I found very useful for doctors is a Video IP Phone such as Grandstrem GXV3140.  This phone is Skype capable and features a high resolution camera and color LCD display.  The video feature can be incorporated into Asterisk IP PBX system so that the doctors and nurses can communicate face to face internally.  I use this phone myself and I think it is a perfect Skype platform for anyone that is working in the office for long hours.  It allows the doctors to Skype with their family members at home quickly and easily.  All this feature and at $170, it is a no brainer for the doctors.

For Medical Office implementation, I enable Call Parking and assign specific parking extensions for each doctor.  This way, when there is a call for a doctor, the receptionist can park the call at his/her specific extension which can be programmed into the doctor’s phone allowing easy access.  I also configure an IVR and incorporate it with Call Routing which can be set to forward emergency calls to the doctor or the caller can leave a message in the general voicemail box that can be checked in the morning.

Another nice feature for a doctor is a virtual conference room number.  I always set aside a few DID (Direct Inbound Dialing) number for the doctors to use for telephone conferencing.  Basically, the doctor can invite callers to dial a specific number, input a password, and they all can join in a conference call easily.  I find this feature to be very popular with the doctors.


Nurses are a great bunch and I find that as long as they have a reliable phone, they are happy.

However, I find that they want to communicate effectively and be efficient since they receive equally as many calls as the doctors.  For nurses, I recommend a 4 line IP Phone such as GrandStream GXP2000 .  The phone can be programmed similar to the doctor’s phone and have buttons programmed for each doctor as well.  A Call Pickup feature can be enabled on the Asterisk Phone System so that all nurses can pick up each other’s phone when it rings.  This is a useful feature where the nurses can answer phones for their group without getting out of their seat.

Another nice feature that we can enable is to utilize the Video feature of the GrandStream GXV3140 so that they can talk face to face with doctors easily.  While this seems like an overkill, once they start using it, they find it amazingly useful in terms of communicating effectivly with their peers and doctors.


Exam Rooms:
I recommend having IP Phones in each Examination Rooms so that the doctors and nurses can answer emergency calls.  Additionally, it can be used to call other doctors for questions on their patient.  A basic 2 line IP Phone such as GrandStream GXP285 can be used effectively here.  It has a small footprint and blends easily into the decor.


A simple 2 line IP Phone can be placed in the lobby for the guests to use.  If the patient needs to contact their insurance company, therapist, family member, etc. they can use this phone.  I sometimes see patients huddled in front of the receptionist talking on the phone which makes everyone feel a little comfortable.  A simple IP Phone tucked away in the corner will eliminate this once and for all.


For a Small Medical Office, I recommend the following Asterisk IP PBX configuration:

  • Custom Day and Night IVR to facilitate various call routing feature depending on time of day
  • Receptionist phone hard coded with each internal extensions for easy transfer and parking
  • Call Parking with own parking extension for doctors and key staff
  • Calling Queue to place incoming calls into a queue that is answered in sequential order
  • Virtual Conference Rooms for doctors and key staff fo easy phone conferencing
  • Enable video codecs allowing Video conferences within the office and Skype
  • Call Pickup for nurses so that they can pick up each other’s lines easily


The above information is just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to configuring an Asterisk IP PBX Phone System for Small Medical Offices.  The beauty of this system is that it is highly configurable to meet your every needs.



About Express Interconnect: We are a Portland, Oregon based Small Business VoIP Phone Consultant specializing in implementing quality VoIP PBX system based on Asterisk IP PBX. We can be reached at 503-820-3513 or via email at: and can help with any questions you might have.

Due to Demand, we have finally branched out into Hosted VoIP Phone Service for Small Businesses.  Our Hosted VoIP Service provides full Asterisk IP PBX functionality in a simple Plug and Play system.

Also, please make sure to visit our on-line store at VoIP Phones Direct for all of your IP Phone needs. We carry Grandstream, Polycom, Snom, Aastra, and Yealink IP Phones with a 14 day money back guarantee and FREE UPS Ground Shipping.

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