Web conferencing has particularly strong applications in the healthcare industry. This simple technology can help doctors to collaborate with staff, specialists and patients in a way that has never before been possible, resulting in time and cost savings. Healthcare institutes can effectively manage budget cuts while improving patient access to healthcare.
Understand your web conference's purpose
Before you actually plan and conduct your online event, it’s important to understand the different applications and purposes of using a web conference. In the healthcare industry, web conferencing can be used to improve communication between staff in the following ways:
- To hold staff meetings to discuss the progress, objectives and plans of the institution.
- To hold meetings between doctors and specialists concerning particularly difficult cases.
- To make announcements on medical breakthroughs and research advancements.
- To conduct online training sessions and courses, or introduce practitioners to new medicine or treatments.
Web conferencing can also be used to improve communication between staff and patients. Being able to share screens and meet face-to-face via webcams is becoming increasingly popular for conducting patient consultations and follow-ups, as well as for education and training. It's particularly useful if patients live far away, are elderly or have a disability.
Web conferencing features for the healthcare industry
Professional web conferencing companies should be able to provide a number of beneficial features which will help you to effectively run your healthcare web conference.
Conference locking and passwords
The healthcare industry handles sensitive information such as confidential patient records, so it's important to know that this data is well protected. Make sure your conferencing provider has measures in place that will allow you to conduct your conferences to the highest industry standards and comply with data protection and privacy legislation. This includes being able to lock your conferences or requiring a password to enter.
Tracking web conference attendance is beneficial in meetings of all sizes, but particularly large-scale staff meetings and for meetings with patients that need to be kept on record. Attendance reports allow you to keep track of who has attended what meetings and when, so that you can complete compliance audits accurately and budget effectively for the future. This can be achieved by activating participant name announcements and a roll call in the conference.
Recordings are useful if you need to listen back to something that was discussed in a meeting. If the meeting was used to discuss a particularly rare or difficult medical condition, then the recording can be used to refer back to in the future if a similar case arises. If the conference was used for training purposes, the recording can be played to other staff members who couldn't attend the original presentation, or be used again in the future as new members join the team. Recording meetings also encourages accountability from both professionals and patients.
Planning your web conference
Once you understand the purpose of your web conference, be it a meeting with expert specialists on the other side of the world, or a follow-up chat with a patient, you will need to plan the details of your meeting.
You will need to choose a time and date for the conference. If it's a staff meeting then it should be within working hours, at a time when the appropriate staff can be available. If the conference is with specialists who are elsewhere, then you will need to choose a suitable time in regards to everyone’s time zones and schedules. If you're using the web conferencing technology for communication with patients, you'll need to set up appointments with them.
With your date set, you can go ahead and set up your web conference online. This is a simple process, but there are different types of web conferences that you can choose from. 'Webinars' are for one-way transmissions and are useful for announcements. 'Interactive meetings' are best for communications between staff and patients.
Will this be a one-on-one conference with a patient, or a large-scale meeting between multiple medical organisations? Set up your conference based on the number of people who are attending and the features that you need. Discuss the details with your online provider and let them know if you'll need assistance conducting the meeting and sending out the invites.
Send out invitations to your staff or patients, complete with a password (if preferred) to enter the web conference, as well as any other instructions or requirements that you want to include.
Web conferencing services from professional providers are full of features which can be used to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your meetings. Web conferencing technology can change the face of your healthcare facility, improving patient and staff collaboration while saving money that can be better spent on improving patient care.