Telestax Blog

Healthcare Communication Benefits from CPaaS During COVID-19

Healthcare providers need effective communications solutions to reach patients during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

With over 800,000 confirmed global cases of novel coronavirus, healthcare providers rely on effective communication solutions to share information, schedule appointments, and even treat patients. Communications service providers are working with healthcare accounts to ensure uninterrupted service, but more can be done to support the mission of critical healthcare organizations as they navigate the challenges associated with a global pandemic.

Solutions that Serve

On March 17, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced, effective immediately, that it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will waive potential penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients through everyday communications technologies during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.

In support of this action, OCR will be providing further guidance explaining how covered health care providers can use remote video communication products and offer telehealth to patients responsibly.

“We are empowering medical providers to serve patients wherever they are during this national public health emergency,” said Roger Severino, OCR Director. “We are especially concerned about reaching those most at risk, including older persons and persons with disabilities,” Severino added.

Telehealth and remote care services benefit from reliable connectivity, but communications service providers can also support patient reported outcomes (PRO) with data collection initiatives facilitated by Telestax Restcomm communications platform as a service (CPaaS).

Research Center Saves $100k with Healthcare IVR

Interactive voice response (IVR) solutions assist organizations with the collection of patient data and deliver community-related information. While two-factor authentication (2FA) with a one-time password validates patient and caregiver identities during online interactions like video communications and telehealth. These types of programmable voice and SMS communications solutions are enabled by service providers with a Restcomm Cloud account. 2FA can be deployed quickly in time-sensitive situations where clinics, doctors, and other caregivers need to reach patients or potential patients remotely, in a secure fashion.

Community Health Resources

The advantage of Restcomm is the speed with which real-time communications applications can be deployed and scaled. As healthcare and community organizations launch new services, many are discovering that initial traffic estimates fall short, as those affected by the virus increase.

For example, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District is the public health agency charged with the responsibility for providing public health programs in San Antonio, Texas and the surrounding area. Two weeks ago they launched a hotline with just two lines. Now it is up to 13 with plans to expand to 15.

In the case of smaller organizations, it can be even more difficult to handle sudden spikes in call volumes or to launch information, or health-related services in a crisis. Local and regional service providers can enable Call Queuing, which can be set up for any number of agents using only a laptop and a headset.

With just one number, patients or community members can call in and be connected with the next available agent from a remote pool. In this scenario, physical contact is minimized and social distancing strategies can be facilitated.

Moving Forward

As new healthcare processes and e-government resources are set up to meet the needs of impacted citizens, the communications industry can do more than ensure connectivity. With the power of CPaaS, local and regional carriers can help deliver the essential services needed to more effectively manage the crisis. By choosing Restcomm for these solutions (rather than an over-the-top vendor) service providers benefit from the bring your own carrier (BYOC) model, retaining traffic on their own network for additional control and service assurance.

If you have a current Restcomm Cloud account, log in now to begin offering applications like 2FA, Call Queuing, Number Masking, Message Exchange, or customized communications solutions that leverage programmable SMS and voice APIs.

If you have questions on a specialized application or capability, reach out directly to your Telestax Representative or contact info@telestax.com.

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