When hospitals and health systems invest in third-party performance management systems, they can ensure ongoing, connected communications – and resolve potential issues before they affect patients.
According to a recent report by the American Medical Association (AMA), the percentage of physicians now providing care through tele-visits grew from 14% in 2016 to 80% in 2022.
Virtual care is here to stay – and healthcare organizations of all sizes are using a variety of different communication and collaboration solutions to support this new method of care delivery, according to a recent research study conducted by HIMSS and IR. Hospitals and health systems need to find ways to keep these different platforms up and running to better support healthcare professionals as they provide care, as well as to improve the user experience for their patients.
The HIMSS study found that 40% of respondents had invested in a third-party vendor for monitoring and troubleshooting their communication and collaboration platforms. An additional 40% said they had partnered with a vendor to understand and enhance the patient experience.
Mark Goetz, Account Executive at IR, said these findings are hardly surprising. “Deploying a unified communications and collaboration (UCC) monitoring solution will proactively automate the process of detecting – and pinpointing – the root cause of any problem that might result in a negative user experience,” he said. “The manual process to do the same is typically a reactive, after-the-fact effort – and it’s considerably more time-consuming.”
Bringing it all together
This research also uncovered that healthcare organizations with more than 2,500 employees are also using performance management solutions to provide key intel to real-time data analytics dashboards (32%) and to gain new business insights (26%) from their UCC platforms.
Goetz said that enterprises of greater size are typically challenged with larger, more complex network architectures and are therefore more likely to support multiple UCC applications to conduct business.
That’s why having a platform that can easily and efficiently bring all technologies into a single, visible environment is of such benefit. “You want to have a solution that can evaluate the performance of live voice and video streams across multiple UCC applications and across the entire continuum of network and applications transmission points from all active participants in those sessions,” he added. “By doing so, you can ensure all those zeroes and ones are meeting set thresholds that constitute a good communication experience. And if they aren’t, the issue is pinpointed and presented to the right technician at the right time to deliver a fix.”
Supporting baseline, mission-critical communication
This kind of performance management expertise is imperative to support the future of healthcare. When healthcare organizations have good performance management solutions in place, Goetz compared it to having health insurance for your virtual care activities.
“Automating the visibility of voice and video performance, and proactively detecting and reporting on poor quality that could result in poor performance, both deliver a lot of value. This enables you to avoid situations that require lengthy staff hours to manually parse logs and coordinate with other information technology (IT) stakeholders to determine the root cause of the problem. You can save time and effort, as well as avoid suboptimal user experiences that can potentially result in poor Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores,” he said.
“As demand for more virtual healthcare scenarios increases across a number of UCC platforms, the need to protect the quality of those investments becomes even more critical,” Goetz added.
“This is baseline, mission-critical communication performance that, when properly monitored, will free up precious IT resources. That means IT teams will be able to tackle other high-value challenges related to security, the electronic health record and other patient-first innovations.”