Revolutionizing Dutch Healthcare with Virtual Practitioner’s Visits and Waiting Rooms
The traditional approach to routine medical visits in the Netherlands hasn’t changed much in decades. Appointments are made manually, and appointment reminders are sent via regular mail to protect the individual’s privacy. In the Netherlands, care recipients can travel 30 minutes or more to the nearest medical center or hospital. When they get there, they have to check in and then spend an unknown amount of time in the waiting room—and when appointments are only made 10 minutes apart.
This waiting can be very stressful. Care recipients don’t know how long they’re going to be away from work or how long they’re going to need childcare, and they also worry they might lose their place in line if they have to step out to use the washroom or take an emergency phone call. Depending on the nature of the appointment, care recipients can be nervous when waiting alone or socializing with other care recipients who might be infectious. Then, at the end of their visit, it’s common that care recipients will need to book another appointment at the front office—while the practitioner is dictating notes. This process is inefficient and not user-friendly.
As an IT professional with 30 years in the business, I’ve always been stunned at this approach to managing the care recipient experience and have long wanted to improve it through the use of technology. The pandemic provided an unexpected opportunity to do exactly that.
Remote Consultations without IT Barriers
During the pandemic, in-person care was restricted to treating COVID-19 sufferers in ICUs, and this interdiction prevented face-to-face consultations in hospitals and medical centers. There was a pressing need for IT solutions that allowed the entire care market to continue giving and receiving care while maintaining social distancing protocols.
Avit Video Consult is a video-based remote consultation platform that doesn't require practitioners and their care recipients to navigate complicated technologies. Avit Video Consult eliminates barriers by generating a unique URL that care recipients click on to launch a remote medical consultation without installing additional software or configuring their device, be it a desktop or laptop computer, smartphone, or tablet.
We built Avit Video Consult with simplicity in mind. We know that if something isn't easy to use, it will not be used. Instead of asking our healthcare customers to assemble a telemedicine workflow using different applications, we built a white label solution as an add-on that works with their existing technology stack. Our click-and-connect solution has built-in security, privacy, and maintenance features.
As a Cisco Gold Partner, we knew that Webex Meetings was the perfect foundation for Avit Video Consult. Meetings offers consistent audio and video clarity, both of which are critical when talking to care recipients about complex medical issues. You don't want audio dropping out when a practitioner prescribes a medication or video switching to low resolution as they show an X-ray to a care recipient. And you certainly don't want a stranger to hack into a private consultation. The secure platform of Meetings eliminates these worries.
Virtual Visits that Feel Real
Avit Video Consult sits between and integrates our customers' video collaboration platform and EMR (Electronic Medical Records) systems. We designed it to replicate an in-person visit to a practitioner's office.
Care recipients start with a pre-consult check that confirms their information and prepares them for their visit. Care recipients then move to a "personal waiting room," a virtual space where they can read information about their treatment, view the reference material folder, or play online games. They can also chat with their healthcare institution’s online agent while an on-screen counter indicates the remaining waiting time.
Once a consultation begins, a practitioner can share test results and other documents with their care recipient, who can also record the session for future viewing. The user experience is seamless. Sharing material is intuitive and feels as natural as sliding a piece of paper over a physical desktop or writing a prescription on a pad.
Avit Video Consult is a white-label solution that is 100% customizable. Hospitals and medical centers can add branding and tailor the care recipient experience to their specific needs. It is also a set-and-forget iPaaS (integration platform as a service) that includes in its price the continuous development of new features and code and two security audits a year.
A Critical Industry Gets Help from Cisco
The pandemic forced medical professionals to focus on remote healthcare. We responded to this sudden need and worked with Cisco's Digital Acceleration Netherlands (DVN) initiative to take Avit Video Consult from an initial build in June 2020 to a working version in September 2020—incredibly quickly for a solution of this nature. Cisco's investment helped accelerate the rollout and pilot of the solution in the Netherlands.
But the healthcare market is focused on care recipients, not new technologies, and is therefore slow to change. There was a risk that the professionals would treat Avit Video Consult as a stopgap solution. That’s why, with the help of Cisco CX, we developed three-month pilot projects that included workshops, interactive sessions, and other tools that help healthcare users leverage the features of our solution.
Through these pilots, we showed them that telemedicine is here to stay. As the world and our country move past the pandemic, Avit Video Consult will help Dutch hospitals and medical centers address the backlog of specialist visits canceled during the crisis. After that, it will become a permanent fixture in our healthcare system.
We have also reached out to Cisco's team in Norway. There, care recipients living in remote regions must often travel long distances to see their practitioners, and that’s a perfect use case for Avit Video Consult. Our goal is to take Avit Video Consult beyond our borders, and Norway would be a great place to expand.
A New Way Forward for Practitioners and Care Recipients
Thanks to Meetings and Cisco's DVN initiative, Avit has revolutionized Dutch healthcare. Consultants, physicians, and care recipients alike used to feel uncomfortable and frustrated with their previous attempts to use technology within the clinical experience. That is no longer the case.
Avit Video Consult offers a fantastic and compelling user experience that allows practitioners and care recipients to meet in virtual spaces without jumping through IT hurdles. There is only one button to click and the conversations can continue as normal—with no travel time and no safety risks—all within the comfort of a care recipient’s private space.
We feel we’ve broken the cycle of the ineffective, inefficient model for the care market. As we ease into a post-pandemic world, we hope this is one thing that will stick.