Telehealth options are becoming more common in healthcare. Insurance companies are increasingly covering these lowered-cost care alternatives and both patients and healthcare providers recognize the convenience of offering telehealth visits. As healthcare organizations adopt telehealth practices, unified communications will become central to their success in execution.
Unified communications allows for a cohesive, streamlined approach that provides superior connections for voice and video. It also allows the healthcare provider to access all patient interactions, including voice, video, chat, email, and text through a single application. Healthcare organizations considering unified communications should look for the following in a cloud unified communications service provider:
- Make sure the provider is fully HIPAA compliant, and that the solution is customizable for your own security requirements.
- Get the fine print on support, including whether there is ongoing support and training as well as 24/7 assistance. Learn what’s included in your contract, and what will be an add-on cost.
- Are they providing a true unified communications solution, or is it simply voice and video? As telehealth evolves, you will want a truly collaborative approach to communications.
A good unified communications solution will help an organization achieve a competitive edge as they roll out telehealth options to patients. Benefits include reduced costs and increased revenue, improved retention, and better operational efficiency. Some examples of the ways unified communications offers these benefits include:
- Healthcare providers that are traveling for business can still videoconference with patients and be able to log and bill those sessions.
- Rural patients can access the care of specialists without the cost of travel, and specialists can retrieve all the notes and history, charts, and test results of the patient’s care. Imaging, doctor’s notes, lab results, and more are all easily accessible by the specialist.
- Doctors with a large group of patients that require regular monitoring, such as daily blood sugar readings, can send out an automated call or text for readings. If a patient reports back within a certain range, they can be connected with live assistance for an appointment. This type of convenience helps free up staff for more in-depth work.
Recognizing the potential that telehealth has for offering both patients and healthcare providers a convenient solution, the American Medical Association released guidelines for telehealth practice this year. Telehealth presents an important opportunity for addressing the medical needs of society.
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