Video calling is fully established. Not so long ago, this required complex and expensive software and hardware, reserved only for the boardrooms of large multinationals. But now hardware is a commodity, and everyone can attend a video meeting with their smartphone or PC. That development had been going on for some time and the pandemic has ensured that almost everyone understands how video calling works. Because young and old are now familiar with this, there are many opportunities to use video calling on a much larger scale, such as within the healthcare sector.
HOW THE HEALTHCARE SECTOR IS TRANSFORMING
As a result of an ageing population and shortages on the labour market, there is currently a great deal of pressure on healthcare. By looking at contact moments with clients and patients in a new way, many improvements are possible for everyone involved. Video calling is indispensable in this. A common objection was that this makes the care impersonal, but practice has shown that the increase in frequency of contact with the patient leads to a greater degree of satisfaction, also among healthcare providers. Moreover, in many cases time is freed up for people who do need a physical consultation.
In hospitals, large efficiency gains can also be made, allowing doctors and care staff to carry out checks faster and to help patients faster. A good example of this is wound care. The monitoring may not be carried out by a regular nurse, so you are dependent on a specialist. If they have to drive around the region for routine inspections, it takes a lot of time, while part of that can easily be captured with video consultations. In this way, remote working can also offer a solution in healthcare.
In order to make up for this change, it is necessary that healthcare providers are open to the new possibilities that arise with large-scale application of video calling. For example, digital adoption support teams have been successfully deployed within several organisations to guide the adoption of new technology. This starts with creating awareness, after which you can train employees and provide them with the new tools to provide care in a hybrid way. By training ‘champions’ within the organisation, who act as ambassadors of a new working method and technology, support is created faster. An essential but sometimes forgotten part when deploying a new technology.
LICENSING MODEL OFFERS OPPORTUNITIES FOR FAST PILOTS DUE TO LOW COSTS
Until recently, the costs of software that makes video calling possible in healthcare were still a major stumbling block to being able to scale up care remotely. There are a number of providers active that offer an application with which healthcare providers can conduct video calls in a safe and certified way. The payment models for these solutions are often based on a price per client. Because the costs for this are relatively high, there is therefore a lot of reluctance among healthcare institutions to implement this on a large scale, let alone innovate with it.
An important change in that comes from Microsoft. Because Microsoft offers the technology behind Microsoft Teams via the Azure platform as PaaS (Platform as a Service) building blocks, high-quality video, audio and chat can be integrated into its own applications. This makes video calling commonplace and makes it possible to realise other licensing models where payment is based on a fixed amount per month, according to use or a combination of these. It is no longer necessary to pay for expensive licenses on a monthly basis, which will make the wide use of this technology much more accessible.
CALL DIRECTLY FROM THE EPD
An example of this is the mobile application that Rapid Circle has developed together with Microsoft and a healthcare institution. This allows a client to register based on his client number. The application can be used on a smartphone or tablet, after which a healthcare provider in the ECD or EDP can call the client or patient directly from the client file. This allows it to be used for both planned and unplanned care. The client receives an incoming call on his smartphone, similar to an incoming conversation via WhatsApp. The screen immediately shows that the conversation comes from the healthcare provider and the recording is done as one is used to with one’s own phone. In the screen, in addition to the image connection, there is a button for simplicity, and that is a button to hang. In this way, confusion is avoided and remote consultations are possible without any fuss. The application can be run in the corporate identity of the healthcare provider, and offered and downloaded via the Apple and Google app stores. With ever cheaper hardware, flexible and high-quality cloud technology and the world that has embraced video calling en masse, all the ingredients are present for a new wave of innovation in healthcare.