As virtual communication tools advance and become more prevalent among providers, it’s no surprise that patients expect a high standard when speaking with physicians from afar, especially during high-stress situations where the lives of loved ones could be at stake.
Healthcare leaders have become receptive to these needs, and the majority of them — 85 percent — say that digital innovation is tied to their long-term strategies to improve patient care, according to a 2017 report by the American Hospital Association and AVIA.
Telemedicine is a major component of that strategy. In a separate piece of research, the AHA states that 76 percent of U.S. hospitals currently connect with patients at a distance using video and other technologies. That’s up from 35 percent in 2010.
As the technology that supports telemedicine continues to improve, organizations turn to collaboration tools to streamline their approach.
RingCentral Helps Doctors Connect Anywhere
The Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center saw a need to communicate more intimately with patients and to provide a more integrated treatment plan from doctors with different areas of expertise. The privately held California facility looked to RingCentral for help.
Because their communication platform has migrated to the cloud, the center’s doctors can use RingCentral on their mobile devices to return patient calls from any location while also maintaining the privacy of their personal mobile contact.
The tools also facilitate videoconferencing and web meetings crucial to providing complex cancer care — no matter where a provider might be located.
“Moving to the cloud for our communications was the best decision we’ve made, as we’re now connected with our patients and colleagues whether we are in the office, at home or traveling overseas,” Dr. Ravi Patel, the center’s founder, said in a press release.
“Our patients are happier, our IT staff is focused on more productive areas, and we now have a state-of-the-art solution that makes our future expansion limitless,” said Patel.
Cisco’s Video Collaboration Solutions Provide Aid on the Spot
The University of Virginia Health System is another provider that sought to adopt collaboration tools that would allow doctors to serve patients from a distance, whether the patient is at home or at the scene of an emergency.
By making the switch to Cisco’s Jabber and Unified Communications Manager (CallManager) products — which provide instant messaging, voice and videoconferencing, and enhanced mobility — the health system has been able to deliver care to patients where they are to better facilitate their recovery.
“The telehealth piece allows me to literally be in three to four places at once,” Dr. Michael Williams, associate chief medical officer for clinical integration at UVA Health System, explained in a Cisco video. “You should get medical care at home, or as close to it as possible — and that’s our future.”
And when seconds count, the technology can be lifesaving. During a recent mass casualty incident near UVA, video collaboration was used to connect emergency responders at the scene with physicians in the hospital’s command center.
“Telehealth has become the backbone of our ability to reach out to our patients and to deliver care where they are, most convenient to them, in a highly effective way,” Dr. Richard P. Shannon, former executive vice president of health affairs at UVA Health System, told Cisco.
“We think we can use telehealth as one of the fundamental disrupting technologies to really bend the cost curve in healthcare and allow every human being access to high-quality care.”