The pandemic changed healthcare. Not only in terms of pushing providers to capacity, but it also transformed the ways people receive care. It accelerated the trend towards telehealth, digital health access and connectivity by several years. As healthcare providers scrambled to provide virtual services, they encountered technological and regulatory roadblocks. They used videoconferencing solutions that weren’t HIPPA compliant or used their unsecured mobile devices to contact patients, because they didn’t have other options.
Impactful and Long-lasting Change
Many of the healthcare changes will provide benefits for patients in the coming post-pandemic years. For example, expanded telehealth services enabled providers to access rural, low-income, and limited mobility patients more easily. According to a report from McKinsey, upwards of a quarter of a trillion dollars of U.S. healthcare spending could move to virtual care. It also notes “Virtual healthcare models and business models are evolving and proliferating, moving from purely “virtual urgent care” to a range of services…”
Despite the advances in virtual health services, there are still gaps in the delivery of integrated healthcare services. For example, the ways in which physicians and nurses connect with patients remains constricted by HIPPA regulations. So, patients might connect for discussions virtually, but other discussions happen through phone conversations. The industry needs to model other sectors by enabling digital device communication channels that still fall within healthcare privacy regulations.
An Elegant Solution for Mobile Communication
One business meeting the challenges for improved communication in healthcare is iPlum, a platform that allows healthcare workers to use their own devices to contact patients and caregivers. It does this by creating a second encrypted number for the provider, instead of them using their personal number. Before such solutions were available, many physicians and staff would contact patients via their own phones but would block the caller ID and would not be able to discuss certain matters due to privacy concerns.
iPlum encrypts all conversations in transit and at rest to stay within HIPPA compliance. This means both parties can discuss personal treatments, conditions, insurance details and social security numbers, with reassurances about security. The system archives texts and recorded calls and makes this information searchable within a database. This provides clinicians an opportunity to review their messages to double-check accuracy, assess staff performance and politeness and perform other duties. This data is also integrated with other systems like EHR platforms, so personal information stays consistent and connects across multiple channels. It also improves transparency and trust between all parties, eliminating the ambiguity of non-recorded phone calls. This gives providers another layer of protection with potential lawsuits.
Technologies like iPlum are the future of remote healthcare workforces. As patient visits, records and other services move to virtual realms, many healthcare workers can transition to remote work, and security must transition with them. Remote workers within any sector are a higher cybersecurity risk because they often use unapproved apps or communicate with their personal devices.
Improving Provider to Patient Interactions and Outcomes
Advances that prevent patients and providers from playing “phone tag”, allow for faster, more personalized communications. Nurses and other staff can answer questions about medications, treatments and advise when patients need to seek urgent attention, all through their own phones. This connectivity improves the patient experience, so they’re more likely to stay with the health provider. They’ll also enjoy better health outcomes as they receive personalized reminders about medication regimens, or frequent check ins that encourage them to share symptoms and other clinical data. Integrating security with the mobile communications we have all become accustomed to can help provide better health and wellness, including within mental health, as patients can reach their providers faster when they’re in crisis.
We are amid a digital transformation and consumer demand for our services to move as quickly as technology can is driving change. Finding ways to provide security while taking advantage of all technology has to offer is the future of health care. It’s part of a digital, transparent and improved healthcare system that’s essential for improving health and wellness after the pandemic.
Author:- Pankaj Gupta, CEO of iPlum