3. Enabling remote operations through virtual collaboration
Virtual collaboration will empower staff via remote guidance from more experienced colleagues. It’s one of many healthcare technology trends that was accelerated by the pandemic, and it’s now becoming a mainstay as qualified and experienced staff are in increasingly short supply – especially in smaller satellite locations.
For example, in medical imaging, we continue to see increased adoption of radiology operations command centres that connect experienced imaging experts in a central site with technologists at peripheral scan locations. This hub-and-spoke model enables virtual over-the-shoulder support while the patient is on the scanner table, thereby supporting less experienced staff to get images right the first time. Not only does this help to standardise image quality and maintain operational continuity, but it can also make advanced imaging, such as MR and CT, accessible at more sites closer to where patients live. Similarly, real-time virtual collaboration in ultrasound can extend the reach of specialist care to enhance patient and staff experiences, improve workflow efficiencies, and drive better patient outcomes across different locations.
Remote collaboration is also showing its value in other medical settings, such as acute care. Tele-ICU programs extend critical care resources to the bedside via technology, independent of the health facility’s location. An intensivist-led team in a central facility can monitor up to 500 remote ICU beds to support care teams on-site, combining audio-visual technology, predictive analytics and data visualisation to help ensure that patients get specific attention when they need it. Similarly, in stroke care, where every second counts, emergency care clinicians can provide virtual guidance to their peers at rural or underequipped facilities to aid clinical decision-making for improved patient outcomes.