As the demands on healthcare organizations continue to evolve, two emerging trends are changing the way care is delivered and will have clinical, operational and financial implications for every practice:
- Increased concern for social equity in healthcare
- The rise of performance-based healthcare models
While each of these trends presents unique opportunities and challenges, together they are altering the provider-patient relationship and accelerating the need for high-quality hybrid services that combine telehealth and in-person care.
Concurrent with the rise of these trends, the global use of virtual care continues to grow.
Canada Health Infoway’s 2021 Digital Health Survey found 73 percent of Canadians had at least one virtual healthcare interaction in 2021. The study also found that 69 percent of respondents were interested in interacting with their healthcare providers virtually via telephone, while 56 percent were open to videoconferencing.
This creates an uncommon set of circumstances where healthcare organizations that get telehealth services right can set themselves up for near-term growth and sustained success.
From a clinical perspective, the ability to provide professional and satisfying virtual care enables good outcomes, more patient options and increased patient retention.
Operationally, making it easy for staff to connect and communicate clearly with patients enables additional and more frequent touches without increasing staff or building new locations.
Healthcare organizations that have already embraced telehealth services have a distinct advantage in the wake of these emerging trends and changing patient and practitioner expectations. But whether you have an extensive telehealth program or are still early in your adoption, creating a high-quality virtual communication experience is key to patient satisfaction. This blog illustrates how to ensure that as you take advantage of these trends, your telehealth services are delivered with the audio and video clarity that increases patient satisfaction and helps you achieve a reputation as a provider of choice.
TREND #1: PROVIDING ACCESS TO UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES
As concern around social equity in healthcare increases, improving access to care is an important initiative for healthcare organizations around the world.
Many residents of rural and urban areas lack access to primary care because it doesn’t make economic sense to build and staff a facility near to them. Even those who live near healthcare services may not be able to access them because of mobility, age or the need to arrange for childcare or transportation. These individuals are still vulnerable to illness and chronic conditions and may rely on the closest emergency room when they need care. The resulting care is costly for everybody and since patients can’t always make it to follow-up appointments, this can result in poor outcomes.
Telehealth care helps you extend your practice to these underserved patients, without having to open and staff additional offices. Convenient virtual health visits can keep chronic conditions under control, resolve minor issues and improve quality of life for those with physical or geographical barriers to health.
As the movement for health equity gains momentum, you can build on your practice’s reputation by bringing quality care to marginalized populations.
Key to effective virtual care: Ease of use for clinical team
- Telehealth appointments are most effective when your devices can automatically adjust for lighting, sound and even movement – that way your care provider can simply focus on building a relationship with the patient.
- Clear audio and video helps providers avoid poor virtual communications experiences, which can leave patients frustrated and affect their willingness to schedule future appointments.
- Audio and video devices compatible with your virtual meeting software frees the medical team from IT headaches that can negatively affect patient care.
TREND #2: DELIVERING ON PERFORMANCE-BASED HEALTHCARE
The rise of performance-based care models means increased time spent on improving and documenting clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. Many of the medical services necessary for performance-based models (such as preventative care, post-operative follow-ups, routine care for chronic diagnoses and mental health appointments) can be just as effectively delivered through virtual care appointments. This allows you to balance routine care with the need to optimize healthcare practitioners’ time.
A good telehealth initiative can increase the number of patients healthcare providers see throughout the day when compared to purely in-person visits. Remote visits also give you the ability to consult with distant specialists who would normally be geographically unavailable to the patients for an onsite examination. The quality of care is improved and, because they typically miss fewer appointments, patient outcomes can improve as well.
Another advantage of telehealth services is that patients become more engaged with their own healthcare thanks to the convenience and frequency of virtual care appointments. Engaged patients are more likely to keep appointments, stay current with prescriptions, follow provider recommendations and take other actions to promote their own health.
Key to effective virtual care: Clear communication
- Avoid diminishing quality of care by using high-quality audio so that the patient can hear healthcare providers clearly.
- Ensure patient satisfaction by creating a virtual experience that is as effective and personable as the care they would receive in-person.
- Create experiences that feel natural and lead to good outcomes by providing practitioners with professional grade video devices.
CHECKLIST FOR CHOOSING TELEHEALTH VIDEO AND AUDIO SOLUTIONS
High-quality, noise-cancelling audio and video solutions turn telehealth appointments into rich and personal communication experiences where your providers can convey trust, competence and empathy to patients, while capturing visual and non-verbal details that aid in assessment and diagnosis. Look for telehealth solutions that:
Provide leading-edge camera and headset technology that includes high-definition video and high-fidelity audio
For more natural experiences, find a solution that minimizes external noise and distractions and delivers enhanced visual clarity by properly framing medical staff or even automatically tracking them as they move about the room to show x-rays or demonstrate physical therapy.
Interoperate with your existing solutions and integrate seamlessly and securely into your broader IT environment
Enable smooth deployment for your IT team with solutions that work with your EMR, LIMS and patient portal or CSP without extensive configuration headaches.
Deliver premium quality and ease-of-use
Technologies that are certified for use with your video platform, and are highly intuitive, improve effectiveness and provide good experiences for both providers and patients, who may be aging and unfamiliar with technology.
Meet the specific needs of your individuals and group participants according to their workspace and workstyle
Matching the appropriate headset and webcam solutions to individual needs, and aligning conference room video solutions to the room size and use, makes a big difference in enabling quality experiences.
Simplify IT management of all users and devices
Choose a solution with management software that lets your IT team track and manage all the video and audio solutions, no matter where they’re being used, from a single management portal.
HOW CAN POLY AND CDW HELP?
Established in 2018 from the merger of veteran audio and video experts Plantronics and Polycom, our partners at Poly have a 30-year history of expertise in audio and video solutions, consulting and device management. They can help you:
Provide quality, virtual patient experiences
High-quality audio and video, and Poly innovations like speaker tracking and framing, make virtual conversations well-lit and crystal-clear, and allow additional experts to be brought into the meeting for consultation.
Improve your clinical team’s effectiveness
Poly frees your team to focus on patients by designing intuitive equipment for telehealth solutions. Products like headsets are designed for all-day wear so clinicians communicating with patients or surgical and diagnostic teams during procedures stay comfortable.
Make IT management easy
Poly offers an end-to-end portfolio of headsets, cameras, desk phones, speakerphones and integrated meeting room systems that eliminate connectivity headaches and promote best-practice information security. Their videoconferencing solutions work with all major video meeting platforms and telehealth provider solutions that support USB device connectivity.
Give your IT team all the visibility they need to manage, monitor and maintain your Poly devices in a single pane of glass, including home office equipment.