Efficient scheduling of remote consultations with chat and video capabilities can streamline interactions in the social and healthcare sectors

We have previously discussed in our blog post how the increased use of remote consultations and the technological tools developed for them during the pandemic can improve everyday life in educational institutions. In addition to the education sector, remote consultation integrations can also be used in other industries, and although the worst pandemic situation seems to have subsided, various remote working tools appear to have become permanent fixtures in many sectors.

The use of remote consultations has also increased in the social and healthcare sector during the pandemic, and various applications have been piloted in hospital districts to enable effortless and secure remote consultations. Data security is particularly crucial in the healthcare sector – but it is not necessarily a given in the broad range of technological systems and service providers.

Well-functioning remote consultations with appointment bookings bring significant benefits to both citizens and healthcare professionals in social and healthcare systems, including the use of chat and video connections in remote consultations. In the Vihdas case, Finnish partner Ninchat enables chat and video consultations.

Appointment-based remote consultations can be used in:

  • Remote medical appointments, such as mental health and substance abuse services
  • Remote consultations with nurses, such as diabetes care, maternity services, and child health clinics
  • Remote social services consultations, such as adult and youth social work
  • Remote group meetings, such as antenatal classes
  • Internal remote consultations between professionals
  • Supporting self-care processes

Linking to remote consultations automatically when booking an appointment

The idea behind appointment-based chat or video consultations is that citizens can be automatically linked to the remote consultation service they need as soon as they book their appointment online.

The integration works in such a way that after making an appointment, citizens receive a link to the remote consultation service in the appointment confirmation message and in reminder messages before the appointment date. Therefore, they can log in directly to the professional’s chat or video call via the link. In addition, the confirmation message includes a reservation key and PIN code that citizens can use to change or cancel their booking.

With automation, citizens do not have to search for access to remote consultations, such as within the depths of healthcare service websites, as establishing a connection is made easy with just one click. Professionals do not need to create remote consultation links manually and send them traditionally, such as by email – the integration saves time and effort for both parties in the social and healthcare services.

Data security in remote consultations is further enhanced by the integration’s strong authentication. In appointment-based remote consultations, citizens may be required to authenticate themselves strongly in up to three different stages, depending on the situation. For example, citizens may be asked to authenticate themselves with their online banking credentials either when booking the appointment or when entering the remote consultation, and the third option is to require strong authentication during the remote consultation if more sensitive information is being discussed.

So, what are the concrete benefits of appointment-based remote consultation tools?

  • Booking appointments and joining consultations are easy for citizens – the citizen who books an appointment for social and healthcare services receives a link to the remote consultation in the confirmation message and reminder messages before the appointment.
  • Efficient appointment booking saves time for all parties involved as the functions are well compatible with each other.
  • If necessary, citizens can easily change or cancel appointments using the code that comes with the appointment confirmation message.
  • The automated process is smooth – citizens can access chat or video consultations with just one click, and professionals do not need to create links or manually send them.
  • Data security is maintained through the integration, and citizens’ strong authentication can be required in three different stages during the remote consultation process.