Virtual Care: Empowering Patients and Providers for Better Healthcare
The future of healthcare is greater access to care providers, clinicians, specialists and the like anytime, anywhere, under any circumstance. It is the use of technology to enable patients to get access to the care they need and feel like they’re in the room with their care provider.
Virtual care is poised to solve two of the biggest challenges in healthcare: access and quality. Virtual health solutions extend provider’s reach and close the care gap that is currently making it difficult to improve care outcomes while simultaneously reducing costs.
No longer will patients have to travel long distances to see specialists. They’ll be able to receive that kind of care no matter their location. For example, if a hospital in Chicago is known to provide groundbreaking care in a specialized area, they can expand their brick-and-mortar reach by providing virtual consultations from locations in that area.
By doing this, these geographically disadvantaged patients will receive top-notch healthcare just as if they were in the hospital facility. Beyond helping individual patients, it also helps build healthier communities in places without resources, making an impact well beyond just the number of people visiting the clinic.
But virtual care addresses more than just the most extreme cases. It aids hospitals and clinics that experience a shortage doctors and providers, especially in urban areas.
If an overburdened hospital is working beyond its staffing capabilities, telehealth can be a saving grace. A shortage of physicians on a busy night could quickly become a disaster scenario. But if the hospital is outfitted with a virtual care solution, patients can access off-site providers. This demonstrates the evolution of clinical settings. Doctors can give high-quality care from thousands of miles away, making sure patients who need help receive the treatment they need.
Remote monitoring is another common use case for organizations implementing virtual care solutions. Through high-resolution video, crisp audio and the ability to easily check vital signs remotely, no patient is left unattended. With the flick of a screen, a trained provider can quickly assess a situation and alert on-site doctors if need be. This gives those doctors and nurses the ability to care for patients with more serious needs, without worrying.
The benefits aren’t limited to patients. The Mayo Clinic, in a recent article, said virtual care can help doctors talk with their colleagues when they’re faced with a challenging diagnosis. A virtual consultation allows primary care doctors to get input from specialists when they have questions. The doctor can send everything from exam notes and health history, to test results and x-rays for a specialist to review no matter where they’re located. This drastically reduces wait times for specialists and prevents unnecessary referrals if the patient doesn’t need specialized treatment.
But all of these benefits are moot if the technology doesn’t perform up to standards. At Vidyo, we’ve been working in the virtual care space for years and have partnered with Iron Bow on many of their devices, including vCLINiC.
When a provider is assessing a patient via a telehealth platform, the image must be clear and true. Doctors need to see the pallor of a patient’s skin, the subtle changes over an affected area. That means using a codec that allows for the best quality picture at the extreme ends of bandwidth.
Beyond that, vCLINiC was designed to be a rugged, resilient device that can operate in the most difficult clinical settings, ranging from tele-ICU environments to general clinical consults. The little details matter in any healthcare setting, so features like a fanless, hermetically sealed PC means that remote monitors can hear everything going on with a patient.
The camera, specifically designed for monitoring as well, incorporates a powerful zoom lens for frame-filling close-ups of small objects and text. Even when a clinician is hundreds of miles away, he or she can see everything, up close with crystal clarity.
And because vCLINiC is a cloud-based device, updates and integration into on-prem systems are quick and seamless. Doctors don’t have to spend precious time logging into and out of systems to find the information they need.
Access to quality healthcare is not just a business, it’s a public service. We’re proud that Iron Bow reached out to us to help answer that call. For those who can’t get to clinics or hospitals, these telehealth platforms are their only link to care. We’ll keep innovating and evolving to provide the best technology to those who need it most.
For more information on Iron Bow’s healthcare solutions, visit their website.
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