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Connections for Better Care: How Zoom is providing Telehealth solutions for the Future

Zoom videoconferencing solutions have been around since 2012. However, with social distancing and stay at home mandates imposed due to the covid Pandemic, companies, professionals, educational institutes had to organise themselves to adopt video conferencing as a standard part of working processes, to ensure that work carried on. Of course, Zoom also became a huge part of our daily lives, with home schooling, online fitness classes, birthday parties, sports coaching and hobby classes, like arts and crafts, taking over, as people all over world, suddenly isolated, looked for a way to connect with friends and family.

The healthcare industry was certainly no exception. The implementation of tele-medicine and online consultation services grew exponentially, through various platforms and applications. The most common ones in India were through Whatsapp and Face time on IOS, with companies like UPDOX and Lyberate quickly catching up. The GOI attempt at releasing its own “eSanjeevani” app within a week of officially allowing telemedicine in the country, to connect patients with government doctors, also shows how mindsets in India have changed to welcome digital health.

Zoom stepped up its software to integrate seamlessly with healthcare systems, in order to bring a more cohesive approach to Telemedicine and Telehealth. It made it easy for hospitals, clinics and physicians to upscale and leverage their existing technology, taking advantage of Zoom’s easy “IKEA Style” DIY installation and affordable pricing. Their healthcare –focused solutions started by introducing a different “Health Care Account “or License, which differs from the Zoom Basic plan that most of us use.

The Zoom for healthcare model serves B2B and B2C players as an interactive video conferencing tool that has the added advantage of being compliant with HIPAA and PIPEDA regulations. It is also intentionally secure with AES-356, end to end encryption for patient privacy and confidentiality. Once ensured that the software they are using is complaint with US health regulations, physicians can comfortably explore telemedicine and its applications.Organizations that have already started using the Zoom Healthcare solutions are John Hopkins School of Medicine, Access Physicians Global Tele-Medicine Solutions, Phoenix Children’s hospital, to name a few.

Zoom has the ability to keep patients connected to their doctors or healthcare providers, either through one on one or group sessions, with a virtual visit end to end workflow.

The advantages of this model are:

  • Includes scheduling and billing of appointments

  • Allows frequent communication , within teams

  • Maximizes resources, both financial and technical with low investment costs

  • Provides call centre integration

  • Can allow recording of sessions, with transcripts, that follow HIPPA regulations

  • Allows you to collaborate with other physicians for opinions or referrals

  • No waiting time or travel time for the patient

  • Allows break out rooms for smaller group discussions

  • A virtual patient waiting room, making it easier for the physician to plan out his appointments

  • Accessible for all with closed captioning and key board shortcuts

  • Multi-screen sharing, so that users can collaborate on annotations

  • On a mobile device, it can integrate with Siri for IOS

Its long-term applications in the virtual health space, even after the pandemic, include:

  1. Telemedicine: Online one to one or group sessions, accessible in rural or remote areas as well

2. Mental health and behaviour modification sessions

3. Health Education: Patient engagement and continuous medical training for healthcare workers

4. Disaster Response: Co-ordinated, real time response to situations, with simultaneous multi-level involvement, which can be time saving and lifesaving.

Zoom Healthcare also offers solutions with hardware upgradation, which integrate seamlessly with its software:

This incorporates a smart monitor that can be wall mounted for bigger conference rooms or rolled around on a cart to an ideal spot, so that meetings are not limited to any physical desktop or computer system, or on small screens like phones or tablets.

It has features like :

  • One touch meeting start ups

  • Zoom phone calls

  • Sharing documents easily

  • White boarding

  • Stylist enabled touchscreens to limit contact surfaces in high risk areas like hospitals (users can have their individual stylists and they can be sanitised easily)

2. Add on hardware: Neat Bar or Neat Pad

In a huddle room meeting solution for 2-10 people, the Neat Bar, that can be mounted on top of a screen or monitor, provides great audio quality with far field microphones.

In addition, the Neat pad can work as a tablet controller or touch screen.

In a meeting room or huddle room scenario, there are several features that are both convenient and just plain cool!

1. The system self-activates as a person physically walks into a meeting room.

2. The monitor automatically turns on and allows you to join the meeting with a single tap.

3. There is an auto-frame facility that instinctively frames you perfectly on the screen.

4. It auto-releases the room, when the participants leave the meeting.

The system also integrates with other software to provide:

1. Medical device integration, for point of care devices

2. Epic Telehealth Integration

3. Office 365 collaboration

4. Access to Electronic health records and charts

All in all, Zoom Healthcare offers varied solutions in the medical industry, in an easy to use, affordable, almost DIY model, that will make it very appealing for people who are not necessarily tech savvy. Although the hardware additions are not available in India yet, we’re keeping our fingers crossed!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Just a salute from a huge fan!

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