How Improved Collaboration Can Help Connect Healthcare Professionals During a Healthcare Crisis (or Any Time)
When healthcare organizations face extraordinary challenges, enabling your teams to digitally collaborate across locations or provide virtual consultations can help them better support patients. Even if you already have some digital sharing tools, you may find they lack the capabilities your teams need for seamless collaboration. Read on to learn how the right tools can continue to transform how healthcare professionals work together, especially in times of crisis.
Why Most Digital Collaboration Tools Fall Short
Research has demonstrated the value of a collaborative approach to healthcare. In one study, a collaborative practice model was shown to improve patient outcomes while reducing the cost of care.1
In another, collaborative healthcare teams were shown to improve decision-making and innovation, reduce the length of hospital stays, improve quality audit results, and enhance patient care.2
Healthcare organizations increasingly use digital collaboration tools to facilitate care team communication and diagnoses. But existing collaboration solutions often fall short of their potential. For true collaboration, organizations must go beyond the capabilities of existing tools and implement seamless, secure, and simple ways to work together.
The Challenges of Digital Collaboration in the Healthcare Environment
To navigate any healthcare crisis successfully, healthcare organizations need to use every digital tool at their disposal. But some common collaboration solutions cause needless complications for healthcare providers. For instance, the plethora of devices, operating systems, and peripherals that medical professionals and organizations use present a major obstacle to collaborative patient care. Each device and platform may work differently with older meeting systems, creating an inconsistent user experience.
Time is of the essence in healthcare. But when meeting participants struggle to find the right dongles, cables, and adaptors to start meetings or have issues logging on remotely because their device isn’t supported well, precious time is lost. Non-intuitive technology can slow discussions and decisions.
To collaborate successfully on patient care, healthcare professionals must often share video, audio, graphs, detailed medical images, or other content; several users may need to share information at once. However, if your current collaboration solution makes it difficult to share content in diverse formats or from multiple devices simultaneously, collaboration can be thwarted.
Especially for novel diseases, developing care plans may require consulting with outside specialists or physicians who may be working at other locations. Administrators, too, must meet and collaborate to create staffing plans and discuss supply inventories. But without a secure collaboration solution, the ability to share sensitive patient or organizational data may be restricted by privacy and security concerns.
Crises Call for a New Approach to Collaboration
Robust digital collaboration solutions can give healthcare professionals the power to provide better care both during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Organizations that have already made significant investments in digital collaboration technology don’t have to start from scratch: A solution that leverages your organization’s current infrastructure and technologies can minimize the need for additional investments while multiplying the effectiveness of existing tools.
For example, the Intel Unite® solution is a wireless content sharing and collaboration platform that allows clinicians to easily, more securely, and wirelessly share digital information to any screen, inside or outside the facility.
The Intel Unite® solution improves patient consultation and follow-up care by enabling caregivers to use familiar devices and operating systems—including monitors and TVs in patients’ rooms—to present clear, comprehensive medical content. Medical professionals can share scan results, X-rays, lab results, post-op directions, and much more with patients; specialists can go on “virtual rounds” to consult with attending physicians in real time.
The peer-to-peer feature removes the need for a meeting room or dedicated PC, allowing anyone running the Intel® Core™ vPro® platform on their device to host a virtual meeting. Peer-to-peer is great for one-to-one meetings between doctors and other caregivers, and it frees up meeting space, which can be a scarce commodity. It also improves hygiene, as patients can interact with monitors without touching the screens and caregivers can use individual devices, rather than gathering closely around a workstation or patient.
In addition to helping clinicians give patients a better understanding of their treatments, the Intel Unite® solution can also give providers new insights. Users can quickly and easily connect to medical teams, caregivers, specialists, and other experts, both onsite and remote, and do so wirelessly with no need for cables, dongles, or adaptors. The Intel Unite® solution integrates with a wide selection of plugins, from whiteboards to document cameras, to facilitate more effective collaboration. From a patient’s room to a conference room, users connect the same way every time, creating a consistent, easy-to-use experience, no matter where they are.
Easy setup, remote management, and built-in security features give IT teams peace of mind. An Intel® Core™ vPro®-based small form factor computer serves as a hub for the Intel Unite® solution, which can be deployed on-premise or via Intel Unite® Cloud Service. The latter uses a cloud-hosted PIN service to provide an affordable collaboration solution for healthcare organizations of all sizes. Either option is easily scalable. Open architecture allows IT to build customizations for specific needs; remote administration capability enables management from any location. The Intel vPro® platform provides hardware-enabled security supported by Intel® Hardware Shield. IT teams can manage the solution remotely via Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) and Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA).
Intel Unite® is HIPAA-compliant and delivers the high level of security healthcare operations demand. End-to-end, TLS 1.2 encryption protects sensitive medical information; a configurable rotating PIN prevents unauthorized access to meetings; and Protected Guest Access lets outside participants join securely without accessing the organizational network.
Putting Patients First
To keep patient care foremost instead of struggling with technology, healthcare organizations need solutions that simplify more secure sharing. Cost-effective collaboration tools that build on existing solutions and are easy to manage and scale can help healthcare providers carry on their critical mission, even in these unprecedented times.