The healthcare landscape is quickly changing and we’re entering a new era of patient-centered care delivery – one that is not bound by location.
Healthcare providers have been forced to adapt and scale virtual consultations and telehealth at a rapid pace. Arguably, we’ve seen greater adoption of telehealth in the last six months than in the last few years.
While this new frontier of telehealth opens up great opportunity for innovation, better patient care, and streamlined clinical operations, it also brings challenges in security and scalability.
How can your healthcare organisation scale to meet the demands of patients today, while best preparing for what’s next?
Let’s first start with defining telehealth, as the term is used widely and broadly. Telehealth is the use of electronic information and technology to support remote monitoring, virtual care, distance health care, provider video consultation, clinical communications and health-related training and education.
Even before this year, patients were demanding better experiences from their healthcare providers.
Through Cisco’s industry-leading healthcare technologies, we’re able to deliver secure telehealth solutions for hospitals and clinics around the world.
We can help:
Make virtual care and communication feel like a face-to-face interaction with high-quality video consultations.
Enable clinicians and care teams to work remotely from home, minimizing risk of physical contact.
Expand your patient’s care team to include experts at other facilities.
Integrate telehealth workflows into EHR and EMR applications, powering collaboration across the healthcare system with Webex Teams and our SDKs and APIs.
Streamline staff workflow and clinical efficiency, saving money, time, and travel costs for both patients and their care teams.
Improve scheduling through contact center technology, helping to manage the volume of patient calls now and once elective surgeries and appointments need to be scheduled.
Scale health system-wide broadcasts and meetings for knowledge share and training.
To keep providers and patients safe, hospitals are shedding their initial hesitation to adopt virtual care, and are using video consultations for everything from routine visits to virtual triage.
Recently, Cisco’s UX research team did a deep dive into this topic, conducting interviews with providers and patients to understand the landscape for telehealth. Based on the interviews, we developed best practices that providers and patients can adopt as they move from face-toface visits in the doctor’s surgery to online appointments. These best practices are applicable for all telehealth services, to ensure that your care team can deliver the best experience for all virtual patients.
Top tips for healthcare providers:
To foster a better relationship with your patient, keep your video on during the call.
Join the video or audio call from a quiet, private room to make the patient more comfortable and at ease.
If you need to examine your patient (for example, look at their foot, knee, etc.), have your patient point their camera to that area.
Have your patient take a picture on their phone and share it through the call.
If you need to share information with your patient, such as lab results or brochures, try using the screensharing and file upload features.
If you need to reference other platforms, such as your Electronic Medical Records (EMR) while on the call, use your laptop and open another window alongside the video meeting window.
If the video or audio connection is poor, use in-call messaging until the quality improves.
Top tips for patients:
Before the telehealth call, join a test call to make sure you are able to join.
If you do not want to download software to your desktop computer or mobile phone, join the video call using your web browser by clicking on the link from your provider. Cisco Webex does provide the ability to join through a browser.
For better communication with your provider, keep your video on during the call.
Before the call, pull up any health information you have (like blood pressure readings, heart rate, wearable technology data) to share with your provider.
Share photos of your medical complaints by taking a picture on your phone. The Cisco Webex Meetings app allows you to quickly share photos.
If the video or audio connection is poor, try in-call messaging until the quality improves.
Is it secure?
Along with great disruption in the telehealth space comes new threats and challenges. We know that security and data privacy are of paramount importance to your organisation.
At Cisco, we take our customers’ data security seriously, and we are dedicated to providing world-class collaboration that is simple, scalable, and secure.
In addition to securing our Webex tools, we also help protect identities and access management through Duo, Umbrella, Advanced Malware Protection and AnyConnect.
Scaling with security in mind
As we move from reactive to proactive, it’s important to think about what’s next in telehealth.
How will the rapid adoption of virtual consultation, provider video consult and remote work change the expectations of clinicians and patients? Moving forward, will healthcare staff demand the option for remote work? Will we be better prepared with the right technology and workflows to manage effectively in the future?
As telehealth quickly becomes the new “normal,” it’s imperative that you consider both speed to market and long-term functionality when selecting your technology partner. And, above all, is your new telehealth solution secure, does it ensure privacy, and does it enable compliance?
Remember, the decisions you make today will set the foundation for the future of virtual consultation and telehealth in your healthcare organisation.
If you would like to learn more about Cisco’s telehealth technology, visit: