Four Reasons a Platform is the Next Key Move for your Long-term Telehealth Strategy
As the pandemic draws to a close, many healthcare organizations are starting to examine their long-term telehealth strategy after COVID-19. If you’re considering the same for your organization, the answer may lie in transitioning to a platform approach. Here’s why.
In terms of pushing the envelope of digital technology in healthcare, COVID-19 actually aided in rapidly changing the pace of telehealth adoption across the globe. The question has now become one of sustainability long term, as opposed to a band-aid approach in lieu of a pending pandemic.
We know the story well. Last March, healthcare systems scrambled to add video conferencing to their EHRs and adapt in-person patient appointments, attempting to find a solution that would work in the meantime. A year and a half later, however, the vast realization amongst the healthcare community is that telehealth not only works but in some cases, it makes more sense than coming in in-person.
In fact, post-pandemic it has been estimated that nearly 25 percent of practices will keep working virtually with their patients. (That’s crazy when you think that in 2019, just 1 in 10 patients used telehealth services.) And while during COVID-19, a quick fix video solution might have been the best option to keep things running, long-term a piecemeal approach isn’t scalable, secure, or designed with further customization in mind. Here’s why a platform approach is all the above and helps push forward people-driven healthcare into 2021 and beyond.
With digital video solutions increasing tenfold over the last year, so too have cyberattacks with organizations across industries hurrying to put solutions in place. Instead of relying on several vendors with different security processes, a platform play allows you to have all aspects of your patient engagement in one place. This supports healthcare systems in delivering a secure end-to-end patient experience as opposed to patching together a solution with room for bad actors to get in and take advantage of patient data.
Having a secure platform will also help with long-term scale and customization, allowing you to grow safely while enhancing your patient’s experience every step of the way.
While a piecemeal approach is great for a quick fix, future planning around your broader patient communication needs requires strategic and careful growth over time. As your patient base increases and they become more familiar with a solution, bandwidth may slow and you run the risk of reaching video call limits which could inhibit patient care and overall experience. Further, many in-the-box solutions only allow you to scale until a certain point.
A platform approach, however, allows you to scale globally and introduce new features over time as well as work HIPPA regulations into the overall design, ensuring patient/provider trust within that journey.
Similar to in-the-box solutions, a platform approach is also easy to implement but with the added benefit of layering additional customized features such as text reminders, email notifications, easy bill pay, and more all with the security to make sure your patient’s health data is kept safe. This kind of customization and focus on personalization will be a huge factor in patient experience as digital healthcare expands, and is vital to start thinking about now as you grow your solution further.
Through all of these components, the platform approach is the real MVP because it allows healthcare to move toward people-driven relational care. While telehealth isn’t the right solution every single time, it has also been the catalyst to giving people more autonomy and connection during a time of global isolation. It aids healthcare systems in thinking differently and more strategically about how they provide care, saving time and money for those who don’t necessarily need to come in in person. And it’s allowing providers to move away from transactional service back to focusing on the people being served all in a space based on mutual trust.
The platform play is the long game and will help ensure telehealth goes from a ‘nice-to-have’ feature to an essential component of doing business as well as connecting with patients in a way that works best for their lives and their care, long term.
About the Author:
Erik is the global leader of enterprise healthcare at Twilio. He has an extensive background in the inpatient, outpatient, and vendor sides of the healthcare business that gives him a unique understanding of the complex issues facing the industry today. He has worked with organizations globally to improve patient engagement and experience. These improvements, in turn, are driving better outcomes, reducing costs, and decreasing employee burnout through improved workflow efficiencies within the entire health care ecosystem.