Real-Time Communications Tech Can Improve Physician Job Satisfaction & Patient Outcomes
WebRTC is the basis of many of the Internet competencies that companies and individuals rely on today. Essentially, WebRTC is a collection of protocols and APIs that connect VoIP technology to Internet browsers like Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox. Once connected, WebRTC enables real-time communications over the web. For example, it is WebRTC that powers:
- Video conferencing capabilities of GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts and Uber Conferencing
- Desktop sharing features of Join.Me and TeamViewer
- Video calling apps like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger
The technology is open-source and free to use, enabling virtually any website or web app to incorporate real-time video, desktop sharing, file sharing, and so on. Additionally, the technology requires no plug-ins or additional software downloads, resulting in a frictionless, easy-to-use UX.
These benefits explain the rapid growth of the market. For example, the research firm Technavio projects the global WebRTC market will grow nearly 35% per year between 2017 and 2021.
We believe that one of the industries best primed for WebRTC growth is healthcare. Not only will this technology allow physicians to do more of what they love (providing patient care) and less of what they don’t (administrative tasks), but it will also help healthcare companies increase efficiencies and improve patient outcomes.
Here are just four ways that the healthcare industry could leverage WebRTC capabilities to dramatically improve physician job satisfaction:
- On-demand, remote consultations – For patients who live in rural areas, those who are elderly and have trouble traveling, or simply those who are too busy for an in-person appointment, WebRTC-enabled tele-health solutions can provide physician consultations on demand. Armed with easy to use, live video conferencing, doctors and nurses could make informed diagnoses and offer care to those who can’t come to them. For example, technologies like Doctors on Demand allow patients to receive live consultations 24/7.
- Emergency room visits and admittance – More than 136 million Americans visit an ER every year. Of those, fewer than 12% need to be admitted. WebRTC-enabled apps could help nurses evaluate potential ER visitors via video before they call for an ambulance or drive to the hospital, ensuring the necessity of the ER visit. This could drastically reduce the burden on hospital emergency rooms and help hospitals provide better patient care.Additionally, WebRTC could help patients while they’re still in route to the ER. Using this technology, providers could develop solutions that allow EMS professionals to place secure video-consult calls with physicians during medical emergencies and provide life-saving care in-route to the hospital.
- Physician to physician communication for outpatient referrals – One area of healthcare that’s prone to communication breakdowns is outpatient referrals. In fact, studies have found that 63% of referring physicians are dissatisfied with the current referral process due to lack of timeliness of information and inadequate referral letter content. This can result in poor continuity of care, delayed diagnoses, and negative patient outcomes. Armed with WebRTC-enabled apps, providers could share patient notes and records more effectively. They could also more effectively consult peer-to-peer to compare results and discuss treatment options.
- Scribe services to reduce the burden of EHR – A recent article on the Top 10 Challenges Facing Physicians in 2018 states that the average physician spends 30% to 50% of a patient encounter looking at the EHR, rather than engaging with the patient. In fact, EHR is one of the administrative burdens that physicians and hospitals struggle with most. And it’s an area that Dev IQ has already proven can be dramatically impacted by WebRTC. We worked with our partner, Skywriter MD, to develop and deliver the successful Skywriter Virtual Scribe – a HIPAA-compliant solution that leverages large-scale, custom WebRTC video conferencing to simplify physician workflow.
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