Modern healthcare spaces must be designed with hybrid teams in mind

Ron Emerson, Global Healthcare Lead, Zoom Video Communications in an interaction with Kalyani Sharma discusses the future of hybrid healthcare and highlights that digital solutions, such as telehealth consultations, can serve as entry points to provide speedier access to treatment and make it simpler for patients to attend non-physical examination follow-ups

How are healthcare providers approaching a hybrid future?

With providers now seeing more patients via telehealth, many in the healthcare sector believe that telehealth has evolved faster in the last two years than it has in the previous decade. New telehealth solutions are being implemented and existing healthcare programs are improvised to include digital solutions to meet the growing demand for telehealth services. By addressing groups that have long been neglected or challenged due to the lack of access to medical treatment, the increasing adoption of telehealth services helps strengthen public health systems and enhance equality and accessibility in health services. People who live in remote places, lack dependable transportation or the capacity to take time off work, and have medical issues that make it difficult for them to visit doctors, can now receive quality care whenever and however it is most convenient for them.

When it comes to hybrid healthcare, digital first does not mean digital only. Digital solutions, such as telehealth consultations, can serve as entry points to provide speedier access to treatment and make it simpler for patients to attend non-physical examination follow-ups. Because of the link between access to treatment and quality of care, the digital components of the continuum of care are critical to ensuring equity in healthcare.

Telehealth has altered the competitive environment for private healthcare, allowing providers to give a larger group of patients access to high-quality, cost-effective and convenient care delivery. Virtual consultations have become an essential alternative for patients seeking remote care, spurring a permanent transition to a hybrid form of healthcare.

What role are collaboration platforms playing in enhancing healthcare delivery and services?

Collaboration platforms are critical in allowing healthcare companies to interact with and care for patients. It allows clinicians to contact their patients no matter where they are, assists teams in collaborating on medical breakthroughs, and enables connections between family members, specialists, and world experts like never before.

Data indicates that video-assisted virtual visits will continue in the long run. According to a May 2021 Qualtrics survey commissioned by Zoom, 45 per cent of respondents surveyed in India wanted access to healthcare both in-person and remotely in the future. A further 13 per cent planned to solely use virtual health services, the highest figure of all of the countries polled. This emphasises the need to offer telehealth alternatives to reach individuals that do not otherwise have access to medical care.

Can you outline a few parameters for designing hybrid spaces that make telehealth collaboration easier and more effective?

More and more, healthcare and administrative interactions are happening among hybrid teams-clinicians joining a consultation from a different facility, and staff meeting over the video while working from home. Modern healthcare spaces must be designed with hybrid teams in mind. Here are a few considerations for designing spaces that make hybrid collaboration easier and more effective:

  • Parity of communication:Remote participants in a video meeting may find it harder to see or hear their colleagues in a conference room, making it more difficult to follow the conversation, read facial expressions, and assess body language. Features like Zoom Rooms Smart Gallery can help bridge that gap and give remote participants a more equitable experience.
  • A consistent experience:It’s important for physicians and staff working at multiple facilities to always have a consistent video experience, no matter what conference room or telehealth cart they’re using. With Zoom Rooms, they can join video calls or share content with one touch, and easily move between rooms or facilities without having to learn how different systems work.
  • Mobile carts for hybrid patient interaction:When a patient needs a telehealth consult or virtual interpreter, it’s often easier to bring technology to them than transport them to a room equipped with video capabilities. This is possible with Zoom Rooms and an all-in-one video conferencing device to build mobile carts that can go wherever your patients are.

Can you share some global healthcare use cases where Zoom is being leveraged and the outcomes thereof?

Zoom is being utilised across the continuum of care from virtual consultations to patient care, and enabling the hybrid workforce in healthcare organisations to stay connected and agile and used as an important tool for medical education to healthcare professionals and patients.

  • In India, Shyft – a global wellness platform was able to replicate the near-physical experience through an online medium and has made its presence felt in almost every corner of India.
  • Butler Health System created customised telehealth workflows for scheduled appointments and unscheduled urgent care visits using Zoom. Zoom enabled providers to recreate much of the clinical experience for primary, specialty, and urgent care appointments, resulting in improved access to care for those who need it.
  • Replacing multiple, disparate point solutions with a single platform to bridge the communication gap between locations was a top priority, and Moffitt Cancer Center created a holistic, single-point communications experience and helped to enable HIPAA compliance using Zoom.
  • From training rural nurses to expanding calling capabilities, Zoom’s solutions enabled Australian nursing agency Caring For You to thrive. Caring For You is an award-winning nursing agency with over 5,550 members working nationally across private and public healthcare.

Looking ahead beyond 2022, what are the trends you foresee in the healthcare market?

While prioritising treatment where and how patients prefer at home, on the go, or in person-telehealth will continue to play an important role in a hybrid model of care. This transformation will enable the healthcare industry to lower costs, waste less resources, improve access to quality care, and provide better patient outcomes. Looking ahead, we can foresee continual innovation in the application of technology in areas ranging from care delivery to medical training.

As decentralised clinical trials gain popularity, decentralisation will become a key theme for health and life sciences organisations as it allows pharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations (CROs) to unbind their research from specific trial sites, provide a more accessible patient experience, and reach a more diverse pool of patients. Decentralised business models will also enable firms to interact on a global scale and collaborate with the brightest minds across the world.

Communication will remain a key pillar for all of these advancements. Virtual collaboration technology will be used to improve care delivery, develop life-saving pharmaceuticals and equipment, and improve the patient experience across the continuum of care in the future. Similarly, techniques and practices connected to general wellness and healthy living will also transition into being serviced virtually through collaboration platforms.

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