TTA has an open invitation to industry leaders to contribute to our Perspectives non-promotional opinion area. Today, we have a contribution from Dave O’Shaughnessy, Avaya’s Healthcare Practice Leader for EMEA and APAC. The subject is the hot button of patient engagement–how telehealth and virtual care systems can be used to connect patients to providers, improve patient understanding, and increase both patient and provider satisfaction.
Interested contributors should contact Editor Donna. (We like pictures and graphs too)
For most of us, the term “patient engagement” seems straightforward. Patients who come in for their annual exams or patients with a chronic disease who regularly take their prescribed medications are considered engaged patients. But what about the rest of us who feel reluctant to contact our GP when we have health concerns or don’t take our prescribed medicine when we should. If these people were better engaged, their patient experience and outcomes would be improved.
Communications technology that was once considered cutting-edge is now holding healthcare back and one of the most significant obstacles to building an engaged patient experience is the traditional calling-centric communication model. Today, implementation of virtual care systems (telehealth), especially via cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications that can be accessed from smartphones or tablets, improves patient engagement levels, and directly contributes to their overall health and outcomes.
So, what should a healthcare provider look for in a modern cloud communication and customer engagement solution? Here are four vital components for starters:
A unified communications platform
A unified communications and patient engagement platform in the cloud provides seamless connections across modes of communication (voice, messaging, chatbots, online meetings, and video), as well as devices (desktop, mobile, and tablet devices). Because it’s all integrated, patients get to use their communication channel of choice over their device of choice, and providers get the features they need to ensure that patients can engage a suitable person when they get in touch. In addition, self-service capabilities such as automated messages for appointment reminders and confirmations help to dramatically reduce time-wasting no-shows for healthcare organisations.
Real-time communications and collaboration
Provision of care requires constant and intuitive access to clinical information and the ability to effectively and efficiently communicate across dispersed teams to exchange critical information throughout care-coordination workflows. Effective and secure real-time collaboration across all communications channels helps staff reach the right people across the organisation at the right time using the most appropriate mode of communication. Most critically of all, these communication services for clinical staff must be easy-to-use, leveraging features like Single Sign-on authentication across multiple apps on a mobile device and offering intuitive click-to-call or team-calling abilities helping teams collaborate easily and rapidly.
Follow-up Patient Engagement
When patients aren’t engaged, they are less likely to follow instructions, resulting in more frequent readmissions. Cloud-based communications solutions with features such as click-to-chat and click-to-video allow patients to keep informed of what, and when, they need to take action for positive health outcomes. Providers can also add automated outbound patient notifications using SMS or Chatbots to follow up on patient satisfaction surveys, freeing critical staff to focus on in-office patients and higher priority, higher quality services.
A Secure and Flexible Platform
To avoid the security pitfalls of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), healthcare provider staff need a “one-device, two numbers” experience that enables them to securely use one device for both personal and business. And lastly, a communications solution should be able to seamlessly integrate with the most common digital systems used by healthcare professionals.
With the cloud, communication and collaboration can become integrated into one solution that works the way patients and providers work—across any device, anytime, anywhere. Most importantly, the flexibility of cloud communication—particularly when it comes to solutions with open platforms—means providers can add new capabilities in minutes, with almost immediate access to the latest innovations. Look to partner with a solutions provider that has proven experience in patient engagement and experience solutions.