As it is in so many areas of our lives today, the use of videoconferencing technology is exploding in healthcare. Video was initially met with some resistance on the grounds that it couldn’t replace human interaction - it can’t and shouldn’t. However, when assessed purely on its own merits, video offers a host of unique new ways to collaborate and improve patient outcomes.
It makes sense that the first problem video solved was the delivery of remote patient care. Many patients can’t or won’t visit their general practitioners (GPs) or specialists while Covid rages on. Fortunately, remote care is growing in popularity with exactly those who need it most - elderly and vulnerable patients. And this group is getting more internet and tech-savvy every year. According to the Office of National Statistics, retired adults have increased their use of the internet from 40 to 67 percent between 2011 and 2019.
Large-scale Remote Patient Care at CLCH
A remote patient care system can be introduced very rapidly, even on a large scale. The community health NHS Trust, Central London Community Healthcare (CLCH), needed to quickly transform the way it delivered its community health services when Covid hit. To keep patients and staff safe for services, CLCH used our BlueJeans Meetings videoconferencing system to facilitate virtual community healthcare for two million patients within a matter of weeks. The system was used for one-on-one patient care, group therapy and staff collaboration.
CLCH also uses our BlueJeans Events system to hold large-scale “townhalls” and executive meetings. Today 60 percent of community health services are conducted over video conferencing, guaranteeing continuous and timely patient care while lowering the risk of exposure to patients, staff and clinicians during the pandemic.
Beyond Remote Patient Care
Remote patient care, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Video is opening up completely new vistas for medical professionals to learn, collaborate and support their patients. Here are just a few we’ve seen firsthand:
Multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTs) - video makes it possible for many specialists from different clinical disciplines to collaborate on treating patients (see case study below). This can be particularly useful when diagnosing patients with chronic (and multiple chronic) disorders.
Keeping isolated hospital patients connected - though never a substitute for in-person visits, video is providing patients who need to isolate with a vital link to loved ones, and also the clinicians treating them.
Educating medical students - With video conferencing it’s possible to live-stream surgical procedures straight from the operating room to medical students who are now learning virtually at home instead of in the classroom
Industry events and conferences - Big healthcare events like Total Health and ICHOM have gone virtual, along with specialised conferences and masterclasses like those offered by Healthcare Conferences UK. Among the many advantages to these events going virtual is that more students and professionals around the world can participate. Video conferencing can also support ‘townhall’ style meetings and other internal events within hospital trusts like CLCH.