Weighing your telehealth platform options and not sure where to start? Or maybe you’re contract is coming up and you’re looking for a better alternative to your current telehealth platform. In this article, we’ll be covering two popular telehealth options: Zoom video conference and VSee telehealth. What are the pros and cons of Zoom versus VSee?
Zoom – Great For Video Conference. But Great for Telehealth?
Zoom is a beautiful video conference platform but it’s not optimized for doing telehealth. As we’ve discussed in other articles, Zoom has done an amazing job capturing the video conference market because of its dedication to high quality cloud-based (i.e. no infrastructure) video conferencing. It has blown the competition–like Vidyo, Cisco/Tandberg, WebEx and Skype for Business–out of the water. We love Zoom for group video meetings, conference calls, and webinars, which is what it was designed for. Indeed, VSee CEO Milton Chen regards Zoom CEO Eric Yuan very highly and has spoken with him on occasion for advice.
What’s Missing From Zoom for Healthcare
As much as we approve of Zoom for video conference, we know through years of experience in telehealth and telemedicine that video conference alone isn’t enough for making telehealth work. Video is only one tiny piece of a complicated work process. As much as we like Zoom, it simply isn’t set up to quickly triage a private telehealth visit the way it’s set up to run a meeting or training.
Video Is Not Enough To Make Telehealth Work
To make telehealth work, you need a way to triage visits, and a way for your entire care team to coordinate and manage a patient. Sometimes you also need to monitor the patient’s vitals. the some of the systems you’ll want include
- pre-visit triage, scheduling, and registration steps that happen before the video visit,
- lobby or waiting room concept with patient queue
- Audio and video connection
- post-visit billing and follow-up that happens after the video visit, and
- medical device or health tracker integrations that are needed during or outside of the visit.
The catch is that clinical workflows all look a little different depending on your specialty or worksite. This leaves you with the following options for doing telehealth:
- piecemeal the different tools you need for each workflow step (where Zoom would be only one of the many tools needed) and hope you don’t need to do too many workarounds,
- build and design your own complete telehealth platform (resource and time intensive), or
- find a platform that’s designed to match your clinical workflow (like VSee 🙂 ).
Real Examples From Telehealth Users On The Front Lines
So you have a better idea of what I mean, let me give you some real life examples of the time-wasting workarounds that Zoom healthcare users have shared with us.
Losing 5 to 10 minutes each time you see a patient online
One psychiatric & behavioral health practice complained that it takes them three extra steps to do an on-demand visit using Zoom, regularly losing them 5 to 10 minutes per patient! Their patients often forget to go to the Zoom meeting room in advance. This means the practice has to
1) contact the patient to go to the meeting room,
2) re-generate and send them the Zoom meeting link via email, which takes a few minutes to receive,
3) then troubleshoot via phone or re-send the link again because the patient can’t find the email.
What attracted them to VSee was our walk-in waiting room with a static link. They did not have to generate a new meeting link for each visit in order to have a secure call with a patient. They could simply embed the link on their website and direct patients to their website instead.
Integrating Zoom Video Conference into your EMR – An Epic fail?
UCSF is another example. As EPIC users, they had Zoom integrated into their EPIC system to make it easier to offer telemedicine across their departments and to reduce workflow friction. But as we mentioned earlier, video is just one small piece of a telemedicine visit. And workflows are specific to each specialty and department. Trying to make one-size telemedicine solution fit across all your practices and departments is bound to get poor results for most if not all.
One UCSF urologist complained, “One issue we’ve been having to workaround is communication with patients before the video appointment (getting them the right link and making sure the provider has it) and having multiple back to back patients (keep on waiting room in the same conference call or jump between multiple rooms).”
Cool Things You Can Do With VSee Telehealth Platform
A telehealth-specific platform like VSee, on the other hand, makes virtualizing your front desks and back desk workflows simple. It makes it possible to truly leverage the power of going digital.
Because VSee uses a “waiting room + patient queue” concept versus Zoom which uses an “open door meeting room” concept, innovative telehealth The waiting room lets you
- securely queue multiple patients from the same waiting room weblink
- allow multiple provider access to the same patient queue for remote load distribution
- do Uber-style load balancing and distributing patients to the first available provider
- perform front desk triage and patient coordination online
VSee also offers a bunch of other functionalities to make it easy to do telehealth
- letting patients self-schedule their own visits or choose to walk-in
- Built-in patient intake and telemedicine consent forms
- online credit card payments
- integrating digital peripherals (otoscope, EKG…), fitness trackers, AI symptom checkers, etc.