The past year and a half has brought rapid digital transformation to healthcare organizations across the U.S. Most hospitals, physician practices and specialty providers implemented some form of telehealth early in the pandemic. It’s become an essential part of provider workflows and widely accepted by both staff and patients. Now is the time to ask “what’s next” for digital technology and to look for opportunities to operationalize it in a way that better serves both the organization and the patient.
Video conferencing software is a great opportunity as it enables more effective, collaborative interdisciplinary care. This, in turn, reduces gaps in care, lowers costs, improves outcomes, and enhances the patient experience. Following are four ways video conferencing can improve collaboration, healthcare communications and outcomes.
Improves quality of care
Digital technology such as video conferencing expands access to the best care providers. This is especially important in rural or underserved communities or in cases where a highly specialized provider is needed. Patients don’t have to wait for a provider to visit the hospital; they can get more timely care via a virtual visit. Remote specialists can conduct assessments and consultations from any location. Other care providers, as well as the patient’s family, can be conferenced in during the visit, which improves care collaboration and helps ensure better adherence to the care plan.
Enhances Virtual Rounding
An effective rounding process improves patient care and reduces errors by keeping everyone in the care team on the same page. Video conferencing technology takes rounding to the next level by enabling real-time communication between staff, providers, specialists, patients, and patient families. This means everyone has the opportunity to ask questions, review vitals, and ensure everyone understands the care plan. This real-time engagement can give both the patient and the patient’s family greater peace of mind, which can improve patient satisfaction.
Enables Post-acute Monitoring
Video conferencing technology provides patients with greater access to the right providers, whether the patient is at home or at another healthcare facility. This allows for more proactive interventions when issues arise. This is especially important during transitions of care, such as when a patient is discharged from a hospital. According to research from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), nearly 20% of patients experience some type of adverse event in the first three weeks after discharge from a hospital or emergency department, most of which are preventable. Video conferencing technology can reduce the likelihood of complications and readmissions by enabling hospitals, physicians and specialists to remotely monitor patients at home or elsewhere throughout this critical recovery period.
Supports Optimal Staffing Levels
Having the right level of coverage with the most qualified employees helps ensure optimal outcomes. Digital technology such as video conferencing can help by enabling a more effective hybrid staffing model. Many organizations are struggling with a shortage of healthcare workers. While not all staff positions can be done remotely, many can. Digital technology can be used to streamline and enhance collaboration across remote and onsite employees. This can help in recruitment and retention efforts as well. Research shows that companies that offer employees the option of remote work can lower absenteeism by 41% and reduce turnover by 12%. It also removes the need to hire local talent and opens up a larger pool of qualified candidates from which to choose.
Mercy, the sixth largest Catholic health systems in the U.S., integrated Vidyo conferencing software into its central TeleICU command center, SafeWatch. Powered by Vidyo and Philips® eCare Manager, SafeWatch provides around-the-clock telemedicine monitoring of critically ill patients at 15 different hospitals. Over 450 Philips TeleICU monitored beds have been equipped with Vidyo enabling Mercy’s critical care doctors and nurses to watch over and visually communicate with ICU patients, their families and bedside healthcare staff from a central command center.
Vidyo is leading the charge in the way telemedicine is being delivered around the world. Our technology allows video to be integrated into various telehealth platforms, networks and devices. A shining example of this is Mercy’s SafeWatch system, powered by Vidyo. Mercy’s SafeWatch is the largest single-hub TeleICU in the country. Spanning across four states, 15 hospitals and monitoring close to 500 Philips TelelCU beds, this new telehealth service enables specialists to continually monitor critical patients and data, and interact via Vidyo with bedside medical teams, ICU patients and their families from one central command center. Deployed across a geographical region traditionally known to be difficult for patients to receive quick, acute healthcare and medical consultations due to its rural nature, Vidyo’s integration into Mercy’s SafeWatch system helps to provide timely, personalized care regardless of physical distance.
Wendy Deibert, RN, BSN, VP of Telehealth Services at Mercy says, “Now that we’re on one platform with Vidyo, we’re able to seamlessly go in, whether I am from the eICU perspective or whether I’m a physician at a distance from a telestroke perspective, we’re all using the same platform.”
“I think Mercy’s been given a real opportunity to be on the forefront of a new technology that 10 years from now is going to be standard care.” Dr. Thomas Hale, Executive Director, Medical Center for Innovation and Telehealth Services, Mercy
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