Due to the 2020 pandemic, the entire eco-system of healthcare providers is under huge pressure to meet service demand like never before. To bridge the gap and prepare for a post-pandemic world, many are turning to telehealth to help deliver essential and personalized patient care. As many as 47% of Canadians have already used "virtual care" such as video, and 76% of US patients say they are likely to use telehealth going forward – paving the way for a new future of healthcare service delivery.
While video has become the key component when it comes to facilitating seamless connectivity, just as important is the way it enables humanized experiences. From building patient engagement to extending access to health services when they’re most needed, IT departments now face the task of deploying these new strategies while keeping costs down - and connectivity secure. At the same time, staff must prepare and equip themselves to maintain safety standards for patients and families while collaborating from afar.
Regardless of how far along your health organization may be in implementing telehealth strategies for a post-pandemic world, careful planning is needed at each stage of the journey. In this blog we discuss some key recommendations and how the right technology can help you deliver quality patient care in any environment – during and beyond the pandemic.
MAINTAIN: ESTABLISH WHAT STAYS THE SAME
Reaching out to patients, families, and staff members will help you find out what is already working and understand what can stay the same. Although patient meetings should remain personalized and staff health and wellbeing prioritized, the tools you use to enable this may change. For example, patients and staff need to engage and collaborate inside and outside the clinic room – which requires technology to keep them securely connected while at the same time facilitating real human interaction.
Whether in an office, an exam room, or at home, video collaboration solutions like headsets, webcams, and conference cameras help patients feel more comfortable and engaged with their visit. Along with giving patients and staff more flexibility to connect, equipping healthcare spaces with video capability also allows you to make better use of space and lift limitations on where care can be given. Beyond this, video collaboration tools can help facilitate virtual clinics and stand-up triage areas, with the potential to support patient monitoring and virtual rounds when combined with mobile medical carts.
ADAPT: UNDERSTAND WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE
From visitor waiting areas to on-site cafes, high-capacity communal areas could be a thing of the past and replaced by smaller gathering areas. Staff teamwork must also change, and be centered around new health protocols with the right solutions to enable the safe delivery of personalized care. This could mean ensuring all rooms are fully video-enabled and ready for at-home patients to make virtual connections with staff. Or combining easy-to-use plug-and-play webcams with video collaboration platforms that offer secure and easy access to achieve high-quality human care experiences. Preparing collaboration packs that include gear such as a tablet keyboard, webcam, or headset for staff to collect from a pickup point or locker, and that are specifically allocated to and used by that staff member only is another way to help maintain safety.
Whatever solution or approach you take, remember to provide the right amount of support to help bridge any digital divide. Sending out surveys to patients, families and staff can help identify potential opportunities and obstacles when it comes to using new virtual technology – as well as sharing best practices and inviting people to provide feedback.
INNOVATE: LEVERAGE NEW TECHNOLOGY
To prepare for a post-pandemic healthcare landscape, your organization must continue to adapt. Remote support using interactive portals for example can be a way for staff and patients to get help, as well as accessing guidance on technology use. This allows IT to provide support when they can't be there in person. Machine learning technology is another development that can alert IT if staff, patients, and visitors are too close together, to help keep everyone safe.
“From AI-based triage systems to hands-free door openers, to thermal imaging–enabled facial recognition that identifies people with an elevated temperature, 2020 is providing a great opportunity for digital technology innovation that could be a game-changer.” – Ricardo Santos, Head of Sales, Video Collaboration – Americas
Technology innovation and advancements are continuously providing new ways for healthcare providers patients and to interact. With this comes a growing demand for human-centered care delivery that offers personalized, interactive experiences, whether or not in the midst of a crisis. To keep pace, the industry must work to extend access to services and support preparedness using the right technology, in order to respond to an ever-evolving healthcare landscape.
Learn more about emerging tech trends and support for various telehealth scenarios in Logitech’s latest eBook