Prior to spring 2020, just 20% of all medical visits in Canada were conducted virtually. By the end of April 2020, that number had risen to 60%, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the pandemic may have encouraged faster adoption of virtual healthcare from consumers and providers alike, as the world attempts to move past the pandemic and return to more normalcy, virtual healthcare will remain an attractive option for easily accessible care. However, virtual health’s benefits extend beyond accessibility alone.
Improving the patient experience
A virtual health visit can seem intimidating to a patient their first time around, but Teams makes it an easy and seamless experience for anyone with an internet-connected device.
Whether located five minutes or five hours from their doctor, patients can join their appointment in seconds through a unique, secure link. Teams also sends appointment reminders and can even securely manage digital intake forms, minimizing confusion for patients.
Similar to an in-person visit, the patient waits for their appointment in a virtual waiting room. Once they’re admitted, they’ll be “face-to-face” with a provider. Following their appointment, Teams offers integrated post-care follow-up tools to keep documents in one convenient, secure place.
The entire experience, from booking the appointment and receiving appointment reminders, to forms leading up to and following the actual visit, happens within the Teams platform. This ensures all communications and documents come from one single source, alleviating patient confusion. When it’s time for the appointment, it takes just one click to join—no downloads, no installs, and no software licensing from the patient’s perspective, making it easy to use. And when you aren’t feeling well, that ease of access and simplicity to join your appointment and get the support and information you need is invaluable.
Enhancing collaboration and security for healthcare providers
From a provider standpoint, Teams’ benefits are multifaceted.
During appointments, clinicians can chat “face-to-face,” screen share as needed, send patient education videos, and even easily loop in remote specialists through three-way call functionality. This enhances the patient experience while saving time for everyone and enhancing real-time collaboration.
Multidisciplinary teams can collaborate and synchronize activities, ideas, and documents in a single place. Teams’ document management and versioning tools streamline processes and minimize time otherwise spent synchronizing various providers’ patient record updates and notes. It also enhances medical team collaboration and communication, while making patient follow-up activities and documents a breeze.
Importantly, this is all done with the utmost in security protocols. In addition to Microsoft’s state-of-the art general security measures, Teams includes precautions to protect patient health data and other regulated and ethics-sensitive data. For example, background blur helps safeguard protected health information that may display behind physicians during virtual visits. All messages are encrypted to protect patient data. Azure Active Directory manages identities and various user-level permissions, and multi-factor authentication and self-service password resets boost security while also minimizing demands on IT staff.
Virtual health grew 240% throughout the pandemic, and it continues to provide providers and patients lasting opportunities for collaboration, convenience, and enhanced accessibility. Read more about how Teams can help healthcare organizations in the full whitepaper at https://aka.ms/TeamsinHC