July 21, 2021
8 Technologies Improving Virtual Rounding and Patient-Clinician Interactions
By combining multiple technologies, healthcare organizations can enhance the value of their virtual rounding systems and improve patient outcomes.
Virtual rounding — a system in which clinicians use collaboration technologies to see patients virtually during their rounds in hospitals or other care settings — isn’t new. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, which made limiting in-person interactions a top priority, many organizations established or expanded virtual rounding practices.
These healthcare organizations have largely found that virtual rounding allows them to spread their resources geographically, improves productivity for clinicians and meets patients’ expectations for their care. Translation: Virtual rounding is here to stay.
Now, healthcare organizations have the opportunity to improve upon the systems they stood up over the past year or so. One of the most effective ways to do this is to incorporate additional technologies that have the power to multiply the impact of virtual rounding.
Computing devices (typically, tablets) are at the heart of any virtual rounding system. It’s best if a virtual rounding strategy is device agnostic — meaning that virtual rounding workflows can run on either Android or Apple devices — to give healthcare organizations maximum flexibility.
2. Collaboration Software
Organizations should first look to the video collaboration technologies they already have in place when designing their virtual rounding systems. It’s always possible that IT and clinical leaders may eventually decide a new platform will better meet their needs. But by starting with what they know, organizations have the opportunity to limit both complexity and cost.
3. Telehealth Peripherals
Video conversations are just the beginning of what virtual rounding systems can offer. By incorporating peripheral devices such as electronic stethoscopes, healthcare organizations can more accurately mimic a face-to-face experience, provide clinicians with more data and expand the types of patients and conditions for which virtual rounding can be used.
4. Electronic Medical Records
Integrating a virtual rounding system with a healthcare organization’s electronic medical record system can create a more seamless, organic experience for clinicians, which in turn can drive adoption of the new solution. Such integrations let clinicians record their observations without toggling between multiple applications, allowing them to dedicate more of their attention to their patients and less to the technology.
5. Patient Experience APIs
Similarly, healthcare organizations should make efforts to integrate virtual rounding with existing patient-facing technologies. One way to do this is through application programming interfaces that focus on the patient experience. These APIs make it easy for patients to join rounding sessions and can tie into personal health record portals.
6. Asset Tracking
Asset tracking technology has become an increasingly important part of the healthcare IT environment, with facilities looking to enhance efficiency and cut down on the time that clinicians and IT professionals spend searching for misplaced (and often very expensive) medical equipment. Applying these efforts to virtual rounding devices just makes good sense.
7. Business Intelligence
Rather than standing on its own, virtual rounding should be part of an organization’s overall patient care and business strategy. By applying business intelligence tools to its virtual rounding system, a healthcare organization can better track patient outcomes, flag potential problems and fine-tune the role of virtual rounding in patient care.
8. Mobility Management
Finally, organizations should lean on mobile device management or enterprise mobility management solutions to help them manage virtual rounding devices. By leveraging mobility management tools, organizations can quickly and seamlessly deploy new apps, apply security policies, and monitor and manage their virtual rounding environments.