Remote and agile working are now major parts of how many organisations operate, and even sectors where face-to-face interactions have traditionally been thought of as essential are starting to benefit from the new generation of high-quality technology solutions.
This includes healthcare, which has been steadily increasing its use of services such as audio-visual (AV) tools for videoconferencing like ClineCall for some time now. But as underlying technologies such as high-speed connectivity have become better able to support these, use of the tools is set to expand rapidly in the coming years.
Done right, these solutions offer a number of benefits to healthcare services, from greater access to expertise from around the world to more convenient consultations for patients living in rural and remote areas, where simply getting to a surgery can be a challenge.
However, it also brings with it a new set of issues, such as how to handle people’s most private data securely, without compromising on usability. Any errors in these areas can prove hugely costly.
A more patient-focused approach
Until recently, the primary use of AV solutions within the healthcare sector was for internal discussions between medical professionals. For instance, activities such as multidisciplinary team meetings where specialists connect from several locations to review cases are common uses for AV technology in the sector.
However, this is changing rapidly, and there is now a much stronger focus on doctor-to-patient care, such as remote video consultations with GPs and more frequent check-ins with community health workers. This can offer many advantages to both patients and medical professionals.
From the patient’s perspective, it avoids the need to travel and endure long waits at healthcare facilities, while it also frees up clinical staff, enabling them to devote more attention to those who do need face-to-face care without reducing the time spent with other patients.
The importance of effective AV tools for healthcare
However, in order to achieve this, specialist AV tools will be required, and standard solutions may not be appropriate for the healthcare sector’s unique needs.
The top priority for these tools should be security. Given the highly-sensitive nature of the information being discussed on these calls – whether doctor-to-patient or doctor-to-doctor – only the most robust solutions will do. For instance, videoconferencing tools must be made completely private, with strong encryption and no ability for any unauthorised participants to eavesdrop, which will rule out many consumer-based tools such as Zoom.
Healthcare video services should also be able to disable common features such as call recording. The recent case of Babylon Health, which suffered a data breach that allowed users to view recordings of other patients’ consultations, illustrates what can go wrong if these features are left in place.
At the same time, however, this security must not come at the expense of usability. Many of the patients who will be using these services have little technical knowledge, so they’ll need to be able to get up and running with the solutions on whatever device they have available. As a result, healthcare video tools will have to combine the accessibility of a B2C solution with the robust protections of more B2B focused offerings.
These unique requirements make healthcare a particular challenge for remote conferencing services. But with the right technology, both clinicians and patients can benefit from easy-to-use services that save them time and money.
To find out more about the role of AV tools in tomorrow’s workplace, download our latest white paper, Reshaping the workspace: The future of AV in the office