Empower your team to adopt a flexible, Remote work hybrid model.
Working from home as a clinic team has become more possible than ever thanks to technology. Specialisations that don’t see a high volume of patients on a daily basis (e.g. surgeons) can adopt a remote work hybrid model—doctors see their patients one to two days in-office each week, while the rest of the days are spent working out-of-office. With the right cloud-based digital tools, clinics can run a virtual office anywhere. Administrative tasks like appointment management, billing, insurance claims and accounting can all be done remotely.
Benefits of working remotely
The perks of remote work span the financial and non-financial. In this age of social distancing, staggered work hours go hand in hand with flexible policies. Back office staff who don’t need to be on site to finish tasks can telecommute, thereby saving on travel time and expenses. Frontline workers can rotate to do back office tasks on days when they work from home. Since staff commute less, they can spend more time with loved ones or on hobbies, for instance. Though clinic teams don’t see patients in-person when working remotely, this doesn’t mean that the quality of patient care is compromised. In fact, patients can benefit from more streamlined processes that come with a remote work hybrid model. For example, first-time patients can come into the office for their initial consultation. Subsequent patient monitoring or treatment updates can be delivered through teleconsult. Patients enjoy the benefits of virtual care and don’t have to commute to the clinic.
Digital Tools to Get Started
First and foremost, you’ll need a secure and suitable tech setup ready for your clinic to work out-of-office. Establish proper protocols and processes for smooth operations. For example, clear communication channels should be in place and specific user restrictions implemented for relevant software. Technology shouldn’t get in your way of remote work operations. These strong digital tools can help support clinic tasks and ensure your team collaborates seamlessly, even when on-the-go.
Mobile devices such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop are essential for remote work. The devices should be lightweight and compatible with the most vital software you and your clinic team plan to use for day-to-day operations. This includes your clinic management software, communication applications, software for file sharing and business administration.
2) Messaging and emailing tools
Since you won’t be seeing your team in-person, clear communication is crucial when working digitally. Clinics should think about internal team communication, as well as external interaction with patients. Staying accessible even when the team works remotely gives patients peace of mind.
For secure text messaging, clinics can turn to messaging services such as WhatsApp for internal communication and WhatsApp Business for larger scale patient-facing interaction. Both are free-to-download apps that work on Mac, PC, iPhone and Android. Clinics can use WhatsApp Business to showcase clinic services, as well as automate, organise and promptly respond to patient queries. WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption built in, so your messages and calls are secured, which means only you and the recipient who you’re communicating with has access to the conversation.
Slack is a communication platform that helps companies manage their interactions both internally and externally. Message, video call, and share files on this secure platform. Slack can be used as an alternative to email for managing operations and communication in real-time, especially where a larger pool of manpower is involved, such as group practices. In 2019, Slack widened its reach to support healthcare organisations; its API can be integrated with EMR systems to further streamline workflows and operations.
Front is an inbox that simplifies internal communication and email management for companies. Clinic teams can collaborate on emails behind-the-scenes so next steps can be quickly discussed for an efficient response. For example, your clinic admin can discuss and coordinate next steps for a specific patient’s email request, or your clinic manager can coordinate internally for budgets and processes involving relevant clinic staff.
In this age of social distancing, doctors, clinics and patients are becoming more familiar with virtual care. Providers of telehealth services told TODAY that demand for teleconsultations had risen 70% in Singapore since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Vital factors to consider in selecting a teleconsultation service is security, ease-of-use, availability, and video quality, so participants don’t miscommunicate or lose connection mid-way through the call.
PlatoConnect is Plato’s built-in teleconsultation service that lets doctors run a virtual clinic instantly. Patients can easily book a teleconsultation appointment online and doctors have everything they need to consult with the patient on the Plato platform. Furthermore, with PlatoPay, clinics needn’t worry about billing for teleconsultations. PlatoPay is a secure PCI-DSS compliant service that lets doctors remotely charge patients’ credit card for services rendered, the same way Grab or Uber charges for delivery or a car ride.
4) Online video meetings
Google Meet is a secure and easy-to-use video meeting service for anyone with a Google account. You can simply schedule your video meeting with participants through Google Calendar or share the video conferencing link directly with third parties. Clinic teams can discuss documents online during video calls through screen presentations—so everyone is on the same page, literally.
Zoom Meetings go beyond standard video conferencing capabilities such as HD video, audio, collaboration and chat. With Zoom Meetings, your online get-togethers are anything but boring. Its ‘Virtual Backgrounds’ let playful clinic teams have more fun when communicating online. Transport yourself onto a virtual beach or under the northern lights in one click of the button. Alternatively, its ‘Touch Up My Appearance’ can instantly smoothen your skin tone so you’ll look extra polished and ready to put your best face forward. End May, Zoom Meetings beefed up its security with AES 256-bit GCM encryption for increased data protection and resistance against tampering.
5) File sharing between patient and doctor
Sometimes, patients may need to share digital files such as images, text documents, photos or videos with their doctors. Rather than logging into another software to access these files, it’s always easiest for doctors to have everything they need in one place. Here’s where Box comes in—a secure cloud-based file sharing tool that can be integrated with clinic management platform Plato.
Doctors can improve patient care by directly storing and sharing content through a Box folder on each Patient Record in Plato. Practitioners can gain better visibility into a foreign patient’s medical history, while care teams can coordinate better on triage and treatments. You can also store files for offline use. Everything is synced by Bonx so it’s easy to manage files online and offline, on any device.
6) File sharing within clinic teams
While Box is useful for patient-doctor file sharing in Plato, your clinic team may find digital tools such as Dropbox and Google Drive handy for sharing files easily and securely between team members.
Dropbox is a file-sharing digital tool that has grown beyond just helping teams store traditional documents. Today, Dropbox lets you securely create, store and share cloud content from applications including Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Microsoft Office files. It also supports task management, team collaborations, and integrates with other tools such as Slack and Zoom.
Similar to Dropbox, Google Drive has grown beyond file storing, sharing and collaboration from any device. Today, Google Drive is integrated to work robustly alongside Google’s other cloud-based applications like Google Docs (word processor), Google Sheets (spreadsheet), Google Slides (presentation) and Google Forms (survey) so it’s even easier for your team to work together in real-time. Google Drive also works with Microsoft Office files, so you don’t have to ever worry about converting file formats.
7) Business administration
You might already be familiar with Google Docs that’s free for personal use. However, Google has other useful business administration apps under its G Suite Essentials for enterprises that gives companies everything they need under one roof—Gmail (email), Google Meet (video calls), Google Drive (file sharing), Google Docs (word processor), Google Sheets (spreadsheet), Google Slides (presentation) and Google Forms (survey). Clinics can use Google Sheets to plan budgets and manage operations for example. Other administrative tasks like appointment scheduling, patient registration, billing, recalls, and financial reports can all be automated with the right clinic management platform.
8) Clinic management platform
Plato automates work at every stage of the patient journey, from front desk tasks to EMR workflows and patient follow-ups. Access it on any device from anywhere. Plato integrates with other key services so clinics teams have everything they need in one place—receive direct lab and radiology results, issue GovTech-certified digital MCs, supercharge your practice with dynamic patient survey applications, and more.