Pressure to Adapt Communication Strategies
In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, healthcare practitioners, medical device manufacturers, and regulatory agencies have all been faced with the challenge of reevaluating their policies and procedures around patient-doctor interactions and communication. Consequently, the industry is witnessing a dramatic rise in the number of virtual consultations, more advanced telehealth procedures, and the widespread implementation of new data-sharing applications. The rapid outgrowth of these services will ultimately drive the need for more comprehensive and strategic medical technology training and support.
Trending Away From Face-to-Face Care
According to analysts, the number of virtual healthcare interactions could surpass more than 1 billion by the end of 2020.
As many people continue to remain wary of in-person doctor visits, the result has been a substantial increase in the demand for different telemedicine platforms. The Miaoshou Doctor platform in China has raised more than $84 billion in series D financing to further develop their application. With the ability to seamlessly integrate healthcare, drug, and insurance information, the company’s future looks promising. In the United States, “Gyant, a health platform that works with twenty-four hospital and health insurers to improve communication and engagement between doctors and patients through the use of artificial intelligence,” has also managed to attract a large amount of interest from investors.
Demand for telemedicine services via appointment applications such as PlushCare and Amwell have also risen by more than 70% and 158%, respectively. The trending shift towards remote patient-doctor consultations stems from more than a change in consumer preferences; “From an administrative standpoint, telehealth has proven its ability to reduce the time pressure medical workers face. It has also demonstrated its value to patients during this time, helping to boost public demand for such technology to become commonplace.”
A New Environment to Protect Providers
Regulatory changes have also contributed greatly to the number of telehealth visits since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. This year, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Human Services (HHS) loosened restrictions on healthcare providers looking to provide virtual care. Under new regulations, “a covered health care provider in the exercise of their professional judgement may request to examine a patient exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, using a video chat application connecting the provider’s or patient’s phone or desktop computer in order to assess a greater number of patients while limiting the risk of infection of other person who would be exposed from an in-person consultation.” As a result, video applications such as Zoom and Skype have become a common way for doctors to diagnose patients. However, this intersection of personal communication platforms adapted for professional use has introduced an environment that is new to many of the users, with uncertain rules and sometimes unseen risks.
Complications From Unfamiliar Processes
While the widespread adoption of virtual healthcare applications has been a valuable solution for many providers, it has also created problems concerning patient data. “Mature healthcare organizations already have stringent policies and procedures in place to remain compliant with government regulatory requirements (i.e., HIPAA, HITECH Act, etc.) and protecting patients’ privacy.” But, as more people continue to use telehealth services, detecting threats will only become more challenging. Experts believe that educating patients on telehealth security threats and training staff on the responsible use of applications and technology will play critical roles in the successful long-term adoption of virtual healthcare. It goes without explanation that any tool is only as effective as the user, so it is essential that both the providers and patients interacting on these platforms can quickly learn their strengths, limitations, and best practices to have a safe and productive experience.
Learning and Professionalizing New Approaches
As with every advancement in the previous decades, successful implementation through and after 2020 will be achieved through studying and recording the right answers. Providers need to begin integrating updated regulations and industry standards into their own policies and procedures, informing their staff of the changes that will directly impact them, and distributing professional guidance to the patients that depend on them. Investors are spending unprecedented amounts of money on telemedicine platforms, new applications are streamlining the healthcare process, and regulatory policies are changing the landscape entirely. As a result, medical professionals tasked with navigating the “new normal” will have to approach the future with ongoing education, training, and support as a priority.
As industry-leaders in education, writing, and training solutions, our team is here to help you transition to the world of telehealth successfully. Although complex, the challenges facing the world of modern healthcare are not impossible to overcome. Our comprehensive and detailed programs are designed to help you streamline technical communication, ensure effective and efficient employee performance, and provide the best service possible to your patients. Visit our website today to connect with us and learn more: https://www.sheaws.com
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