February 21, 2017
Integrating Your Voice and Data in the Healthcare Industry
Despite advances in communications and mobility in the past decade, a portion of the healthcare industry has continued to rely on outdated technologies. According to a recent study by Ponemon Institute, 66 percent of providers claimed that healthcare professionals are still using pagers as the main mode of communication within their practices.
The same study stated that clinicians waste more than 45 minutes a day due to outdated technologies. This has cost our nation’s healthcare industry more than $8.3 billion each year.
Improving the quality of patient care and clinic processes has been a top industry priority, and many healthcare organizations have developed strategies that target these communication flaws head on. In doing so, many have realized that unified communications (UC) is an extremely effective tool.
UC integrates all data and voice technologies into clinicians' working environments, which solves a wide range of communications issues. UC leads to much better collaboration between doctors, nurses, and specialists, greatly improving the quality and efficiency of patient care.
By streamlining workflow and operations, UC can improve business processes within healthcare organizations and facilities. It seamlessly integrates powerful communications services that help enterprises grow and compete, among these mobility and contact center services.
Below is a summary of the top tangible benefits companies in the healthcare industry derive from integrated voice and data.
Enhances Collaboration with Physicians and Specialists
When caring for patients, physicians heavily rely on collaboration with other doctors and specialists to determine the best solution. In some cases, delays in this collaboration process can have disastrous results and prevent the patient from getting the specific care they need.
UC eliminates delays by connecting teams at all times and allowing instant, real time communication. It allows much quicker consensus on patient care and treatment plans, as well as easing the travel burden associated with consultation. Further, patient records can be shared in real time, which allows doctors to instantly send experts the information they need to fully understand the patient for diagnostic purposes.
Enables Flexible and Home Healthcare
Through UC, doctors can follow up with patients in post-op through any smart device, anywhere and at any time. By using video conferencing, emails and texts over home visits, nurses and doctors will save time and money. Moreover, the quality of home care is improved through UC as it can accommodate technologies (e.g. heart and blood pressure monitoring) that connect patients to medical staff at all times.
UC also provides benefits to patients in rural communities. Rural patients who do not have access to a specialist nearby and cannot reach an urban hospital can receive the help they need without leaving their community. Through video conferencing and remote patient monitoring, doctors can monitor patients who do not have access to a nearby heath center.
Frees Staff to Treat More Patients
UC applications reduce the time that medical staff spend on routine tasks such as reissuing prescriptions or chasing medical results. By facilitating remote patient care, it also frees up time spent traveling to treat patients at home. As a result, physicians can spend a much larger part of their day treating more patients.
Promotes Improved Patient Communications
Patients now have much easier and quicker ways to directly communicate with doctors and medical staff. UC provides extensive opportunities to ease patient communication, including delivering test results, refilling prescriptions, and updating patient charts. Further, UC solutions such as text alerts and e-charts allow patients to have instant access to complete medical test results and heath histories no matter where they are.
UC provides a wealth of efficiencies and convenience that can improve the quality of healthcare. It ultimately allows patients to receive higher quality, personalized treatment and improves the overall communication and efficiency among healthcare teams.
Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons license.
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