The Record - Issue 19: Winter 2020

132 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om V I EWPO I NT The virtual advantage ANDE R S LØK K E : P E X I P Telehealth services are essential in delivering a safe, secure and simple patient experience, while reducing costs for healthcare providers worldwide I t is impossible to overstate the challenges the world has experienced due to the global coro- navirus pandemic. Not only have they been enormous from public health emergency and economic stability perspectives, but they have also been unforeseen from healthcare providers’ perspectives. For tens of millions of people, the pandemic has proven to be the greatest stress test in civil history. With over one million fatalities and hundreds of thousands hospitalised, entire countries have gone into complete lockdown to control the virus. The strain put on caregivers is immense as the pandemic continues to challenge and develop. Although authorities have accelerated the approval processes of several vaccine candidates, a return to normality may not yet be within sight. Countless news articles, commentaries and research papers have discussed the importance of telehealth services during this period for keeping healthcare personnel safe, reducing the risk of exposure for those with other illnesses, and for keeping other personnel – such as clini- cal psychiatrists – away from wards where peo- ple undergo Covid-19-related treatment. Social distancing is fundamental to control the disease, and telehealth services enable this at their core. By using information and commu- nication technologies (ICT), healthcare person- nel can easily connect with their patients while keeping the required distance. Patients can stay at home while meeting with caregivers via secure video and audio meetings, ensuring patient pri- vacy and data protection. An essential task for telehealth services is to make it easy for untrained individuals to join their appointments. However, because there are so many of these solutions on offer, simplicity is not always achieved. Various telehealth plat- forms have different ways of meeting, scheduling and booking appointments, as well as different requirements for devices and connection points with the patient. For many users, these differ- ences can pose challenges, making it hard to join their appointments. Over the past few years, Microsoft Teams has quickly become the platform of choice for com- munications within healthcare organisations worldwide. Many healthcare providers – from