The simplest option is to piggyback off your computer, and install a piece of software called a softphone (short for software phone). There's a lot of different options - here's a list for example. We haven't tried them all, but our personal favourite? X-lite - it's free, reliable and easy to use. Notably, you can even get softphones designed for mobile phones meaning you're able to receive phone calls on smartphones solely over data, instead of voice.
So this solution works if you're okay with being tied to a computer to make and receive phone calls. Particularly for someone who's on the computer all day anyways, this might be the right option - pick up a headset and you're good to go to chat for hours.
What if you prefer having an actual phone? If you already have phones, then you need an adapter. Again, there are lots of options, but we use OBIHAI models personally. The way these adapters work is that you plug the adapter into your internet router, and you then plug your ordinary phone into the adapter. The adapter connects over the internet to your VoIP provider, and then makes your ordinary phone think it's plugged into an ordinary phone jack. If you already have phones in place, this is likely the simplest solution - your end users won't know the difference.
The last possibility is if you're buying new phones anyways, or you're in the market to replace your phones. In this case, the option that we went with were phones designed for VoIP. These are typically called "IP phones", which is short for internet protocol phones. These phones will not work with ordinary phone lines; instead, they have to be connected to the internet and configured to connect to your VoIP provider.
We went with Grandstream GXP1405 phones as being a nice balance between quality and price. Indeed, depending on where you source these phones, each phone ranges from $60 - 80. We've been using these phones throughout the clinic since we opened, and we haven't had any problems at all.
One thing to keep in mind when purchasing IP phones is that one premium feature that you'll need to usually pay extra for is PoE, which is short for power over ethernet. We'll chat about this feature next week and whether you need to pay extra for it!