Cloud based communication tools making remote healthcare, telemedicine more pervasive: Kuntal Shah, Avaya

In the past 18 months have completely transformed the way healthcare is delivered. Patients now have access to care through virtually any channel they want, be it chat, phone, email, video, in-person, or all the above.

By:Updated: Nov 24, 2021 6:26 PM
AI and cloud-based communication tools changing the dynamics of the healthcare industryCloud-based communication and API integration solutions have made it feasible for medical practitioners to deliver services to patients in the comfort of their homes, offices, or while on the go.

Patients today want predictable and expected service with full-featured alternatives while also wanting everything to be simple. In a nutshell, they want a lot, and what they want changes and moves all the time. What has undoubtedly been the most difficult period in public health history has become a defining moment for health-care reform, not just in response to epidemics but also to meet patients’ basic needs. Secure automation, monitoring, and reporting around communication applications, activities, and workflow processes have now become more critical. Any transactions which otherwise would take a lot of manpower. Given the yearlong digital shift due to the pandemic, Financial Express Online caught up with Kuntal Shah, Director – Sales Engineering India & SAARC, Avaya and discussed challenges for the healthcare segment in adapting cloud tech and more. Excerpts:

How are AI and cloud-based communication tools changing the dynamics of the healthcare industry?

Cloud based communication tools are making remote healthcare / telemedicine more pervasive than ever before. With cloud-based communication tools, we can embed voice and video communication into any healthcare application which healthcare provider (HCP) is using, where a patient can interact with a doctor from any device from any location. It also provides the ability to exchange information such as reports, prescriptions etc much more effectively than what used to happen in the past. Infusing AI with communication tools helps to automate many transactions which otherwise would take a lot of manpower.

Conversational AI tools like Interactive virtual assistants (IVAs) can help to automate activities like appointment scheduling, lab test reports, general health related queries and more. Conversational AI can also enable call takers to be more productive while personalizing the experience for patients. Today with conversational AI and automation we can understand customer’s intent, emotions, unsaid needs and eliminate friction during the patient’s journey. Technology like speech analytics, we can analyze each transaction, help us to transcribe 100% of the conversations and understand pain points and challenges and modify business processes and workflows accordingly, thus improving both employee and customer satisfaction.

Elaborate on the future of cloud computing in healthcare?

In the past 18 months have completely transformed the way healthcare is delivered. Patients now have access to care through virtually any channel they want, be it chat, phone, email, video, in-person, or all the above. Health systems can use this to their advantage for sending proactive reminders about appointments, procedures, and targeted wellness campaigns across patients’ preferred channels. Thanks to AI and analytics, there are now more efficient ways to capture patient data across the entire healthcare system to help patients more intelligently through their care journey. Telehealth has revolutionized patient care and health outcomes. Previously, just 8% of patients had ever had a virtual doctor’s appointment. Today, Frost & Sullivan predicts a 35% increase in global virtual patient interactions by 2025.

Cloud-based communication and API integration solutions have made it feasible for medical practitioners to deliver services to patients in the comfort of their homes, offices, or while on the go. However, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that truly inspired hospitals, medical centres, and physicians to adopt this technology on a massive scale to help patients seek medical help via cloud-based applications.

How is Avaya Spaces providing ‘Quality of care’?

Avaya Spaces is built-on a cloud native multifunction processor that powers a blend of Employee and Customer Experience, taking those capabilities out of their silos for game changing experiences. It offers unlimited integration potential for any vertical with APIs. This architecture enables disruptive workflow for game changing user experiences and allows extensible blended employee and customer experience apps to be built quickly.

Using Avaya Spaces, Avaya has delivered an app that recreates the experience you would have when visiting a physical hospital or doctor’s office. Providers there can queue up patients to make sure that each one of them is able to meet in a safe, secure environment. Multiple providers can work one queue, or each provider can have their own queue. Once a patient clicks a link, they’ll be sent to a virtual waiting room until a provider is available. Patients can see how many people are ahead of them and if the doctor is busy. When it’s time for the visit, the patient is taken to a virtual provider room. This solution is lightweight to create quick, easy patient consults safely and securely. Patient and doctor can communicate through any device without having to download any application just to have a conversation.

For Healthcare Providers who don’t want to use an entire packaged application from Avaya but still need to have a workstream collaboration solution to embed into their application, Avaya Spaces provides a set of APIs using which HCPs can integrate video/voice/collaboration into their application.

AI and cloud-based communication tools changing the dynamics of the healthcare industryKuntal Shah, Director – Sales Engineering India & SAARC, Avaya

Where is the healthcare segment lagging in/ Challenges in terms of adapting cloud tech?

The main challenges include lack of trust in data security and privacy by users, organizational inertia, loss of governance, and uncertain provider’s compliance. Cultural resistance to share data and change traditional ways of working is also a common management challenge in adopting cloud.

Elaborate on Avaya’s initiative- MedicSetu, how does it work?

In light of the current healthcare emergency facing India, Avaya joined hands with a group of non-profit organizations and doctors to rapidly improve COVID-19 patients’ access to free healthcare while easing the stress on hospitals and clinics struggling with patient care. MedicSetu gives COVID-19 patients under home quarantine the ability to participate in free video consultations with qualified doctors using a virtual platform. This greatly increases citizens’ access to medical advice while easing the burden on stretched resources at healthcare institutions.

Created by Avaya and I-Novate in collaboration with MySenior Doctors, the platform acts as a virtual out-patient department, using the Avaya Spaces™ workstream collaboration solution to connect patients directly to doctors in private virtual rooms. The non-profit organizations Rotary India, Arogya Foundation of India, and the Manav Mitra Foundation also contribute to the initiative.

With a solution to the healthcare emergency needed urgently, the platform was created within seven days. During a test phase, 163 registered doctors provided consultation to over 876 patients during that week. And with MedicSetu having proven its ability to alleviate the surging demand on hospital resources, the initiative has now been expanded nationwide with over 1,000 doctors on-board.

Range of Healthcare solutions offered by Avaya globally during COVID-19.

Some of the healthcare solutions offered by Avaya globally using Avaya Onecloud solutions during covid 19 are.

Flexible and Fast Vaccine Administration:
– Get underway with our suite of apps designed to help you be successful in every detail of your vaccination mission
– Provide awareness and support for citizens and patients
– Recruit and onboard qualified staff
– Manage and track the dosing administration process

Streamline Your Contact Tracing Processes
– Employ AI virtual agents for patient contact, with easy fall back to live agents when needed
– Enable cloud-based proactive notifications to automatically reach out with alerts, optional response tracking, text interaction, and auto-forms
– Enable automated outbound voice calls, SMS, and email for outreach to people and their contact circles
– Get up-to-the-minute insights from robust reporting

Deliver Organized, Efficient Testing
– From first inquiry to test administration to reporting results, provide a clear, efficient path for people to get screened and take appropriate action.
– Provide self-service access to public information
– Automate registrations and appointments
– Manage check-in and care—at the clinic or curbside
– Set up results notification—inbound or outbound

Connect People to the Resources They Need
– Provide self-service access to FAQs and public info
– Support seamless transfer to a live person when needed
– Make services available across channels—on the phone or online
– Support your customer-facing team with skills routing, call recording, live monitoring, coaching, analytics
– Get the Most Out of Working From Anywhere

By overcoming the collaboration limitations that can come with working from a safe distance, we have made sure that our team that’s spread apart is working seamlessly together whilst delivering the best possible experience to every customer.

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