The Benefits and Dangers of Digital Collaboration in Healthcare

Cybernet Manufacturing
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Digital collaboration promises to shorten the distance that prevents patients around the world from receiving proper care. The prospect is surely exciting but attention also needs to be paid towards the security behind patient data shared globally.

When you’re a patient, you’re limited to the doctors and facilities near you. For doctors, the distance of a lab or specialist limits both the speed of research and diagnosis.

On a local scale, even a meeting of healthcare professionals in a region can be difficult to schedule.

So how can healthcare facilities knock down these geographic barriers? What IoT devices, medical computers, and strategies can boost collaboration, communication, and medical teamwork?

What is Virtual Ideation?

The goal is to remove the distance that so frequently slows down patient care and clinician work.

Some healthcare organizations have already begun embracing the concept of “virtual ideation,” the promoting of a combination of digital collaboration tools like video conferencing, shared files on the cloud, and more.

St. Luke’s Health Network has already paired with Microsoft to use their 365 cloud technology to facilitate online collaboration between employees. Between Microsoft’s Team software, the OneNote program for collaborative multi-media work, and shared PowerPoint, they found a solution for their virtual ideation sessions. Just another benefit to using Windows-compatible medical PCs that can double as workstations and cloud collaboration devices.

The First Step is Patient Data Security

Digital collaboration can only work if all the data systems are secure and HIPAA compliant.

While the idea of patient data being shareable across the globe could have positive impacts, there’s room for exploitation. Shared data must be absolutely secure, which is no simple feat.

There are two primary ways to obtain this level of data security: at the point-of-access for users, and in the network itself. For point-of-access, multi-factor authentication and single sign-on techniques are 100% required. An EMR computer with customizable and built-in sign on methods is ideal. Look for biometric options, encrypted card readers , RFID chip readers, and ID barcode scanners that can pair with a user password for true multifactor authentication.

As for security on the network itself, consider new data schemas like blockchain: a shared, secure ledger that stores encrypted copies of each file on every computer and node in the network. With blockchain, every transaction with the data – say, updating a patient’s file – is recorded and verified across the entire network. Suspicious activity or unverified access is immediately tracked and shut down.

Sharing Data with Specialists around the World

While general practice physicians are fantastic at their jobs, there are rare conditions that require a more esoteric expert.

Traditionally, limited access to niche specialists because of geography put a hard squeeze on patients suffering from more complex conditions.

Digital collaboration has made strides in this regard with digital image pathology, allowing clinicians to share 3D patient and sample scans with specialists around the globe. In the past, it was possible for patients to go months without concrete information about their condition, adding to anxiety and sometimes even worsening their condition.

Now, high-density, high-memory tissue scans can be transferred over a secure connection in minutes, allowing pathologists anywhere to have full access to data equivalent to a primary sample.

Benefits of Patient Collaboration and Telehealth

Not all collaboration is between clinicians. One incoming trend that can help disintegrate regional barriers is telehealth.

Whether it comes to conversational AI chatbots for patient questions, virtual visits, or long-distance biomedical data sharing, patients are in for a host of exciting solutions. Telehealth isn’t just a matter of leveraging new interconnected technology but of combating doctor shortages and providing more comprehensive care for an ever-expanding population of elderly patients.

Rural patients, traditionally underserved with healthcare, can receive the same level of care and treatment access as a city-dweller in a district with properly deployed telehealth.

All patients end up gaining more control over their own health, more engagement with their healthcare responsibility, and a better shot at successful treatment no matter the circumstances of their birth and location.

Healthcare without Borders

In a connected world, there’s no reason for one of our most valuable, life-saving industries to fall behind. Budget will always be an issue, but employing some of these strategies can help any hospital IT coordinator make the most cutting-edge methods a reality.

To learn more about the kind of medical computers that can pull double-duty for daily medical use and A/V conferences for virtual ideation, contact Cybernet today.

The Benefits and Dangers of Digital Collaboration in Healthcare

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