How Communications APIs Can Elevate the Telehealth Patient Experience
By Sunny Rao, SVP, Global Sales, Vonage
Technology use in healthcare has rapidly accelerated over the past two years. Video has disrupted nearly every industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, and healthcare is no exception. With the ubiquity of video and telehealth capabilities, the continued convergence of hardware, software, and biomaterial innovations has not only changed the way providers engage with patients, but it has forever changed patient expectations when it comes to medical care.
Healthcare Technology is a Key Part of the Patient Journey
Patients and providers alike have embraced telehealth and seen that it can be an effective way to provide and receive care. As a result of this widespread adoption, however, patients’ expectations for their telehealth experiences have dramatically increased. As with other online experiences, patients expect their telehealth journeys to be seamless and efficient. In particular, patients now expect their medical journeys to connect their physical, in-office experiences with virtual ones. Likewise, they want all communication touchpoints along their patient journey—from filling out paperwork to signing in for a telehealth session—to require minimal effort on their parts.
Creating these seamless customer experiences for patients is now table stakes for healthcare providers. Accordingly, providers need to ensure they have the right communications technology in place to reach patients whenever and wherever they happen to be. That’s where Communications APIs come into the picture.
Healthcare Use Cases for Communications APIs
Here are some of the unique ways that Communications APIs can power better telemedicine patient experiences:
- Provide key points of connection between in-person and virtual healthcare visits: Technology now glues together in-person doctors’ appointments and other patient/provider interactions. Just like a customer might use an application to order food and await delivery, patients can now use online touchpoints to book appointments, fill out paperwork, and more. Communications APIs ensure that information flows from patient to provider, and they enable healthcare providers to build out communication experiences that make it easy to connect with patients. This saves both patients and providers time and energy, allowing quality of care to remain the focus.
- Facilitate virtual mental health visits: Communications APIs, like the Vonage Video API, can allow mental health providers to easily set up compliant video experiences to meet with patients. Providers can use the Vonage Video API to set up 1:1 consultations, group therapy, and expert consultations, with tools and data integrated into one platform.
- Increase access to healthcare for patients across locations: The widespread adoption of telehealth means that patients now have the opportunity to meet with healthcare specialists across the country. Communications APIs can enable healthcare providers to create telehealth experiences customized to their needs and help reach patients, including those in rural communities.
- Leverage technology for at-home patient communications: With the use of home monitoring tools on the rise, remote video check ups can be an effective way of connecting patients and providers while patients recover at home.
- Find new ways to communicate with long-term senior care residents: As the population ages, healthcare technology innovations for senior care have grown in an effort to provide better care experiences. For example, in long-term care facilities, wearables with integrated applications and messaging features can be used with patients following treatment.
- Enable collaboration between medical and surgical team: Bring additional remote expertise into medical discussions using video technology to aid in decision making and improve patient outcomes. For example, a specialist can join a patient and a primary care physician to help with a diagnosis or discuss treatment options. In another instance, a physician might observe a surgery remotely via video and provide medical advice along the way.
- Enhance communications for clinical trials: The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly demonstrated the importance of accelerated medical approval processes, and clinical trials are a key part of paving the way for that approval. Because communication is paramount to managing the clinical trial process, which can take many months, you will want to consider how best to stay in touch with participants. Applications with embedded communications can make trial processes more efficient.
Vonage has a unique vantage point into the innovations from many healthcare providers and can help create telehealth communication flows, build mobile and web healthcare applications and create powerful patient experiences across multiple channels, including:
- custom video experiences that can enable HIPAA compliance, global reach, and use cases specifically designed to meet the needs of providers
- multiple authentication options, including SMS and voice calls, can help patients and providers more securely access telehealth sessions and patient information; and enable automated messaging communications with patients to provide more seamless patient experiences
- WhatsApp enables consistent patient conversations across countries where SMS can be challenging
Visit the Vonage Healthcare APIs webpage to learn more.