Supporting Virtual Healthcare Through Video

Wiley Zhang, Head of Video Collaboration, APJ, Logitech, explains the unique value that high-quality video brings to the healthcare industry, and how delivery of telehealth - especially during the pandemic - can be enabled using video conferencing solutions.

Image courtesy of Logitech.

While the technology to deliver virtual care might have been around for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated its growth and adoption. As governments and healthcare institutions around the world scrambled to provide adequate medical services to patients amidst the risks and restrictions during the pandemic, virtual care options came to the fore as reliable and cost-effective solutions to bridge the gaps in healthcare delivery.

In a Frost & Sullivan report published in partnership with Logitech, the virtual care market in APAC is forecasted to grow from $2.0 billion in 2019, to $3.71 billion in 2025. National healthcare agencies around the world are starting to channel resources and funding towards growing telehealth as a solution to meet the unserved and underserved segments of their population.

Even before the pandemic, people were talking about telehealth and remote medicine, but the pandemic made it even more urgent. As countries move out of the pandemic scenario, the transformation will stay for the longer run. Telehealth is an incremental extension of the medical and healthcare services that are available. This expands the type of  care options, and also expands it to a lot more people who may not traditionally have access to care such as in the rural areas.

High-quality, cost-effective, and efficient video-enabled telehealth will increase the adoption rate, and it is coming at the right time. At the beginning of the pandemic, many people avoided going to hospitals, and hospitals themselves were very crowded because of the healthcare needs. However, people with chronic diseases still needed a lot of services from the hospital. Video has provided a tool for them to get this continued service.

According to the Global Virtual Care Experience study by escalent, 47% of global patients surveyed are now using telehealth on a regular basis, and 53% of patients have at least one healthcare provider using telehealth.  This is a sign of the strong adoption rate and significant growth, and video plays a very important role as a fundamental factor behind the growth.

Telehealth with crystal-clear audio and video gives us the chance to provide more support to patients in between clinic visits, urgent and specialty care, mental wellness health services, and reduce trips and queue time for patients. It thereby reduces crowding in hospitals, especially for patients with mobility challenges. We bring healthcare to more people with cost-effective tools, and ensure that easy access to services is broadly spread. This is not just a good thing for the healthcare industry, but for society at large.

Logitech works very closely with telehealth or virtual care providers to bring different solutions and products that fit into different use-cases for hospitals. This includes areas such as back-office, front-office, communications, room solutions, offices, and work-from-home. For example, our personal collaboration tools help people  who are working from home stay connected and communicate with on-premise staff on a regular basis. We also use video-enabled solutions to provide basic diagnostic services so that doctors can work remotely, and for hospital staff to work effectively – especially during the COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Patient care, education and training of healthcare providers and healthcare administration can all benefit from video conferencing solutions. It can be used for continuing education and training, with doctors and nurses using the technology to improve their own skills and abilities. Remote observations such as medical procedures or joint consultations with remote specialists can be facilitated easily with high-quality video conferencing.

Desktop solutions such as 4K video cameras are really important in the industry. Healthcare has unique requirements, and higher quality and resolution provide people with a different experience. In the healthcare context, higher quality, as well as easy to use plug-and-play solutions help to build confidence and trust between you and your patients.