2020 has seen a massive uptick in telehealth, with an increasing number of healthcare facilities now offering digital communications services due to COVID-19.
In one recent study, 42 percent of respondents said they have used telehealth services since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those respondents, 65 percent claimed it’s because visits are more convenient than meeting a physician in the office. Sixty-three percent reported they enjoy not having to worry about being exposed to other potentially sick patients. And 44 percent said they believe it’s easier to make an appointment using telehealth, while 38 percent said they like the streamlined approach to follow-up and communications.
It’s clear that telehealth is part of the “new normal” in healthcare. With all signs indicating that COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future, many healthcare providers will be looking to either implement or upgrade their telehealth solutions in the coming weeks.
Telehealth & UCaaS
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) can serve as a reliable and cost-effective telehealth enabler, as it offers every element that’s necessary for accommodating patients. UCaaS involves centralizing multiple communications tools into one centralized platform that can be easily accessed from any location.
Here are some of the many ways that UCaaS can support telehealth:
Healthcare providers need to be extra careful when selecting a patient-facing communications platform, as they need to go above and beyond to protect sensitive healthcare data — both in transit, and in storage. Healthcare data is extremely valuable, and a top target for cybercriminals.
UCaaS can enable secure and HIPAA-compliant communication. The technology is typically much safer and more robust than what you will find in a standard video conferencing platform, as it will come with encryption and user access controls.
Another great aspect about using UCaaS for telehealth is that it provides numerous options for patients to communicate with physicians. For example, doctors can use secure video calls to virtually examine patients and perform routine check-ups or follow-ups. Patients can also communicate using voice, or exchange text messages with providers. UCaaS can even support secure faxing, for transmitting sensitive records and forms.
Enhanced Internal Communication
Backend communication is critical in healthcare as well. Doctors need to regularly communicate with clinical assistants and other physicians throughout the day, which can be difficult when team members are spread out and working remotely. UCaaS can provide instant access to other team members at any time, providing a convenient way to collaborate as a team. UCaaS is helpful for scheduling employees, coordinating appointments, and streamlining administrative tasks.
Like all businesses, healthcare companies need to cut unnecessary costs wherever possible. UCaaS can help companies slash telecommunications costs, and leverage cost-effective VoIP instead of relying entirely on landlines. VoIP can significantly reduce hardware and maintenance costs, and further cost savings can be achieved by pooling or bursting lines.