Video consultation is now an integral part of the care process
Last year, Covid-19 increased the pressure on healthcare immensely. To relieve care staff and reduce the risk of infection, research was carried out on how to improve the care process. Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort...
Last year, Covid-19 increased the pressure on healthcare tremendously. In order to relieve the burden on healthcare staff and reduce the risk of infection, a study was carried out on how to improve the healthcare process. Meander Medisch Centrum in Amersfoort also quickly switched to the new reality. With Medify (specialist digital healthcare communication) and Webcamconsult (online video consultation), various options were tested to support healthcare staff.
Eva van Katwijk-Leemans, digital innovation project leader at Meander Medical Centre, and Peter Krol, COO of Medify, talk about digital healthcare communications and the innovative capacity of the healthcare sector.
Van Katwijk-Leemans: "In the past, we already used video consultations. This was a stand-alone solution, which meant we had to schedule appointments in two different systems. This meant a lot of extra work and was thus not very efficient and user-friendly. In 2020, because of corona, we wanted to scale up quickly with consultations on distance. Many of our people were deployed on corona-related care and to organise that, we were looking for an efficient and simple system. For digital screenings at the MDL and Orthopaedics, a calendar integration had previously been realised by Medify. We reached out and asked Medify for a solution. Video consultations fit into Meander's strategy, in which digital innovation has an important role. Within a patient's care path, we look at which blocks are needed. Everything that can be done digitally, we try to do digitally, only then you win in efficiency. The important thing here is that it works nicely for our patients and our staff."
Meander is involved in innovative developments in healthcare, enabling it to make the technology of today and tomorrow applicable. The hospital is happy to offer ICT and healthcare professionals the space to innovate and implement. That combination of innovation and practice was also evident in the cooperation with Medify and Webcamconsult.
Krol: "Replacing the physical conversation many doctors still find challenging. Then it is precisely enormously important to create advantages, making the step to a video consultation less big . Often, such a video consultation is used as a substitute for a consultation, but that is not how we prefer to see it. At Medify, we have been working for years to fulfil the information needs of patients and doctors digitally, prior to each consultation. All administrative actions, such as information and pre-screening, take place prior to the consultation. This allows the healthcare worker to fully focus on the patient and the diagnosis. If this becomes a standard part of the care process, the introduction and acceptance of video consultations will be better. After all, each patient's data can always be viewed in the EHR. Thus, the doctor can easily start the video consultation, which will rather feel purely like a conversation, with minimal administrative burden."
Krol looked for a party that offered the right facilities and could integrate with Medify when it came to video consulting. Important factors here included ISO and NEN certification, the party was AVG-proof and whether we could link via an API. Webcamconsult met all these requirements, according to him.
Krol: "We contacted them for a link with our healthcare platform," he says. "They reacted immediately and the implementation was quickly arranged. Besides Webcamconsult, Medify has integrations with several parties in the field of video consultation. Meander chose to start with Webcamconsult."
Medify wants to digitise the care pathway from start to finish.
"Our goal is that the patient doesn't have to come to the hospital when they don't need to," Krol says. "We deploy technology and data to provide optimal service to the patient . A new digital and integrated poly process for all new en control patients needs to be aligned and set up with all stakeholders. It is an invasive process. For many people, both doctor and patient, video consultation is still new.
To make the project a success, good change management is needed."
In Meander, he sees that the acceptance rate for the whole new poly process is high.
"Artists have quickly mastered the use of Webcamconsult. It is also going very well on the patients' side.
In 2020, we saw a marked increase in the use of online video consultations. Webcamconsult specialises in integrations with parties such as Medify and has a quality score of 99.9 per cent. Due to its stable connection and ease of use, the company is now the market leader in the Netherlands in healthcare image calling. Yet digitisation of the care pathway is still in its infancy, despite the fact that more care has to be delivered for the same care budget.
Van Katwijk-Leemans: "There are certainly colleagues who are critical of the video consultation. But it is precisely these people, too, that we let think along and advise in the implementation process. Hereby, we see that many of our healthcare staff are extremely charmed by Medify's information and process support. As a result, every patient is optimally prepared for the video consultation, regardless of age or background. This makes the threshold to starting with it much lower."
As a starting point, practitioners receive online training, which consists of an instructional video with manual. Before the first consultation takes place, each practitioner will receive personal guidance around starting and carrying out the consultation. This will automatically create an online 'consultation room'.
Van Katwijk-Leemans: "Many doctors currently still see image calling as a replacement for a phone consultation. While the areas of application are obviously broader. Essential for a successful implementation of new technology is that it works well right away. The situation in 2020 created a desire to increase production, but the available waiting space was limited. The advent of video consultation with calendar integration and patient education allowed us to scale up quickly. Thus, more and more departments have joined in."
The integration of Webcamconsult into Medify reduces doctor's assistants' administrative tasks. In addition, patient and practitioner time is used more effectively. The outline agreement on medical-specialist care stipulates that quality and efficiency of this care should be promoted, and that care providers should ensure the long-term accessibility and affordability of care.
Krol: "We see it as our task to enable transformation in healthcare Standardisation, optimisation and digitisation of doctor-patient communication is an important part of this. Within this spectrum, videoconsultation plays an important role."
Van Katwijk-Leemans:"Since recently, a 'Sounding Board Group Image Calling' has been set up by the Netherlands Association of Hospitals, to exchange experiences and learn from each other . We see that ICT hardware and infrastructure can be a bottleneck in digitisation projects, just like an outdated Citrix environment, too few webcams or too short of bandwidth. These are issues that we are solving with the hospitals.."
Webcamconsult founder and CEO Bert van Gerwen is pleased with the collaboration with Meander Medical Centre and Medify.
Van Gerwen: "This collaboration shows that digital innovation in healthcare works. As market leader of video consultations in healthcare, it is our responsibility to make this part of digital care as accessible as possible. Both practitioners and patients go through an integrated care path, and this involves several parties. All parts of this care pathway must connect seamlessly, so that users do not notice anything of the complex technology behind it. Especially with the 'backlog' created by corona, it is imperative that healthcare organisations transform quickly but also thoroughly. Otherwise, the quality of care may come under pressure. But it is not too late: eHealth organisations such as Medify and Webcamconsult are ready to scale up quickly."