By Heidi West, head of healthcare, Zoom.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, telehealth has emerged as an invaluable part of care delivery. And by all indications, virtual care is here to stay even after the threat of COVID-19 passes — in large part because of consumer demand. In a report by Qualtrics commissioned by Zoom, 61% of respondents in the U.S. who have used video for healthcare said they plan to attend healthcare appointments both virtually and in person in the future.
The key elements are choice and competition. Consumers want to be able to choose how and where they receive care — and that may include retail and direct-to-consumer solutions or their primary care provider. Sometimes an in-person appointment may be preferred or required, and other times, patients want to save time and money by using high-quality telehealth options.
As more healthcare organizations look beyond the pandemic to building long-term telehealth and virtual care solutions, reliability, consistency, and quality are key to driving adoption, building trust, and improving the patient experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Find a solution that integrates into your workflows
When the right technology meets the right application, it becomes nearly invisible to end users. That’s what providers and patients want: a telehealth solution that “just works” and feels as comfortable and intuitive as something they’ve been using for years. The ability to integrate and customize plays a key role in creating that experience.
During the pandemic, I met with many healthcare organizations who stressed that they need their telehealth solution to live in the workflows they use every day.
If your telehealth solution doesn’t sit comfortably in your workflows, it could lead to a variety of issues. If providers need to switch between multiple platforms in their day-to-day work, it could potentially increase time spent on administrative tasks, limit time with patients, and lead to missed appointments and lost revenue. Administrators may find that a parallel workflow duplicates efforts and costs, while an integrated solution could streamline processes and cut down on inefficient spending.
Look for a telehealth solution that has the ability to integrate with your EHR or HIT system, or allows for integration with open platforms through APIs, the latter of which provides flexibility and customization opportunities. A seamless integration enables providers to focus on practicing medicine without fiddling with controls or toggling between platforms.