Cloud UC Delivers on Patient-Centered Healthcare

Telehealth has gained traction in the healthcare industry in recent years, enabling broader patient access and smarter use of limited clinician resources. Over the past two years, great strides have been made to ensure healthcare organizations, including hospitals and physicians, are fairly compensated for the time dedicated to telehealth interactions.

In June, the American Medical Association (AMA), which has 230,000 members, released a set of guidelines surrounding telemedicine. The AMA acknowledged that "telemedicine has the potential to transform healthcare delivery and address many coordination challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system."

Most states -- 34 as of August 2017 -- have enacted laws that require insurance plans to cover telehealth services. While there are some disparities, such as whether clinicians must first see patients in person before beginning a telemedicine relationship, telemedicine and telehealth has clearly gained legal momentum. Now more than ever, healthcare organizations must capitalize on the opportunity to better serve their patients and ensure maximum reimbursement.

When investigating your telehealth platform options, here are a few things to consider:

  • Is the solution fully compliant with HIPAA patient privacy regulations? Beyond that, can you customize it to meet additional organizational security requirements as well?

  • Does the provider offer ongoing training and support to meet your organizational needs? Is support available 24/7/365? Is support included or an add-on cost? Read the fine print so you know what you're getting into beforehand.
  • Does the provider offer solutions beyond voice and video? A complete cloud unified communications solution can cover multiple office or clinic locations and can encompass your entire internal and external communications infrastructure. It can provide a more robust overall communications service with fewer IT resources required, while also offering simplified billing and easier vendor management. Some providers also offer contact center solutions, networking services like MPLS and SD-WAN, and even specialized services like event management for training webinars or other virtual meetings with large-scale audiences.

Patient-centered UC cloud solutions put your organization ahead of the curve with telemedicine, as well as help modernize patient access centers, improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve retention rates. Here are just a few ways West customers are using telehealth technology:

  • Physicians who are away from the office on business can securely consult with patients over video conference and be able to log, record, and bill for those sessions.

  • Specialists can reach out to geographically remote patients and assist with critical diagnoses and treatment plans via screen sharing, messaging, conferencing, and more. The specialists have immediate access to patient history, imaging, labs, doctor notes, and more, enabling a productive consultation.
  • Physician groups with a large population of patients with high blood pressure automate daily outbound calls/texts to collect patients' blood pressure readings. They cross-reference that information with a patient's norm and, if the reading is out of bounds, the patient is connected with a live agent for assistance, such as scheduling an in-person doctor's appointment. Using this automated system for routine and somewhat self-service maintenance, providers save full-time employee resources that are better directed to more critical tasks at the top of their licensure.

Patient-centered healthcare technology is here today and ready to be leveraged.

Read more about how West is serving the healthcare field with cloud UC in this collection of case studies, "Healthcare Heads to the Cloud."