Healthcare organisations around the world have a new challenge: the Covid-19 Coronavirus and how to maintain safe working practices during this time. Now, more than ever, the healthcare sector needs to remain operational and help its staff to carry out critical business activities at safe distances.
Working in the cloud
Enabling staff to have remote access to the systems they need relies upon the right network, security and infrastructure.
For organisations that host their applications in a cloud environment, staff location is less important, as their systems can be accessed over a suitably secure internet connection. This means it is far easier for staff to work from home, whilst maintaining performance and meeting security compliance.
Consulting by video
There are, of course, roles within healthcare where simply being able to access systems isn’t enough. For clinicians in GP surgeries, for example, being able to have face-to-face contact with their patients is key to diagnosis, treatment and care. This is where video conferencing technology can really play a part, in creating a more human interaction when presence in person is not possible.
While we are practicing social distancing to minimise the spread of Covid-19, it is also worth considering the beneficial application of video calling for patients with other contagious illnesses, compromised immunity, limited mobility or even transport challenges.
The ability to consult remotely enables clinicians to reach more patients, and connect the best talent within the healthcare community to patients who need it most.
Video-conferencing: exploring the options
For healthcare providers who want to offer face to face communication with staff and clients, there are many video conference “quick fixes” available.
Everyone from your yoga teacher to your Granny can utilise these incredibly powerful tools. And we’ve seen this in the last few weeks, with businesses without an existing video conferencing system rapidly deploying a solution that allows them to stay productive.
However, as with all business solutions, there is no “one size fits all”. If you’re a healthcare provider, there are some key factors you need to consider to ensure you’ve got the right technology, for the short and longer term:
- Is this solution a suitable business tool? Although base level “free” versions may seem appropriate in some cases – to address an immediate need, for example – it sometimes isn’t appropriate for the entry level product to be deployed across an organisation.
- Is this system secure? Do your research on video conferencing solutions and check if there any security concerns around them. You need to be sure you’re not opening up your corporate systems to malicious attackers or eavesdroppers.
- Will it integrate with your existing systems? If you want to make the most of this technology, there are ways to make it work more efficiently. Think about the functions that would be most useful to your staff and your organisation: integrating your video-conferencing solution with Outlook and your corporate directory or CRM system, providing a call centre function, offering a seamless switch between call, video conferencing and instant messaging, adding people and sharing content. Deploying this level of integration does require input from collaboration specialists, so bear this in mind when you’re looking at solution providers.
- Is the solution supported? Will the solution provider offer assistance with setting up the system, user training and ongoing trouble shooting, etc.? Or it is a self-managed solution?
Although some of us may have been forced into this new way of working, it certainly has its longer term applications. The technologies that healthcare providers choose now can help them work more safely in the current crisis, but also have potential to improve services and agility in the future.
If you’d like to explore video-conferencing options further, please get in touch with us for advice.