Jul 30 2019

How Doctors and Patients Benefit from Healthcare Collaboration Tools

From telemedicine to secure data-sharing, a wide range of technologies allow providers to work together from a distance.

Healthcare is a team sport, and no good team can function without seamless collaboration. 

That’s why the right tools and strategies allow providers to win big by helping patients receive timely, comprehensive care — when and where they need it most. 

Whether a doctor is located across town or in another time zone, he or she may perform their duties via mobility and telehealth solutions designed to streamline workflows and connect with colleagues as if they were in the same place. 

It’s no surprise, then, that “The Modern Workforce Insight Report” by CDW notes that today’s clinicians rely more heavily on digital tablets than steel filing cabinets to track and store patient data.

The report, which surveyed 400 senior-level professionals involved in the purchasing process, found that the top drivers of workplace solution investment are greater employee productivity (48 percent), better process efficiency through automation (39 percent) and improved security (39 percent). 

Those benefits hold significant power in healthcare, a field where every second counts during an emergency. 

MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: Learn more about how collaboration tools help bring doctors and patients closer.

Fast Pace Urgent Care Adopts Virtual Consultations

Consider recent moves by Fast Pace Urgent Care, which standardized its Cisco collaboration software across its 95 clinics to help employees in four states connect via instant message, expedite call transfers among facilities and reroute front-desk phone lines when a waiting room gets too busy. 

True to its name, the Tennessee-based business aims to help quickly.

Christine Holloway, Vice President, CDW Healthcare
When the right technology is involved, no distance is too far.”

Christine Holloway Vice President, CDW Healthcare

Among its strategies: a partnership that connects Fast Pace patients in crisis with a licensed clinical social worker or behavioral health therapist, using Apple iPad devices and Lenovo notebooks, in as little as 15 minutes

The virtual consultations are as effective as in-person treatment, the American Psychiatric Association says. And they also can identify and alleviate other health issues that might go unaddressed, a potential means to reduce readmissions. 

READ MORE: Discover what experts are saying about collaboration in healthcare.

Collaboration Tools Allow for Smarter Work

Collaboration tools also hold major potential for care teams and leadership, says Jason James, who helped implement a BYOD policy as the CIO of Optima Healthcare Services (the company, which provides Software as a Service to outpatient practices, was acquired by Net Health in July). 

“We have video chats, we share files in real time — we are no longer tied to just email,” James said earlier this year in a speech at CDW’s Future of Work SummIT. “So, no matter where someone works, they can still do their job not only securely, but also effectively.”

A similar notion guided Vidant Health of eastern North Carolina to adopt videoconferencing for its monthly tumor board meetings that once required some physicians to drive for hours to attend. It proved so popular among Vidant providers that the company changed its plans for a phased expansion of the technology and conducted a larger, faster-paced rollout to meet the demand from users.

And at CHRISTUS, a health system that operates hundreds of facilities across the Southern U.S. and South America, the deployment of virtual desktop infrastructure provides safe, secure access to key apps and desktop images — simplicity that helps staffers access data from a range of devices, regardless of their location.

Healthcare teams must think beyond the walls of a clinic or hospital to truly leverage the power of collaboration. When the right technology is involved, no distance is too far.

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