It’s no secret that the global health community has had to change their methods for treating patients in the pandemic era. For inpatients and outpatients alike, circumstances dictated new ways of interacting, such as touchless data collection as well as remote appointments, screenings, assessments, diagnosis, and treatment.
COVID-19 accelerated a move toward telemedicine that had slowly been gaining steam. According to the CDC, during the first quarter of 2020, the number of telemedicine visits increased by 50 percent, compared with the same period in 2019. There was a 154 percent increase in telemedicine visits during week 13 in 2020, compared with the same period in 2019 (in tandem, ER visits fell sharply).
With new ways of interacting come new interactive tools. Videoconferencing software has become the technology that enables telemedicine (and business in general).
On his podcast last year, Dr. Sanjay Gupta noted (with regard to the coronavirus pandemic) that “hospitals have quickly taken their services online, doctors are seeing their patients on video or over the phone, and medical records are being shared more often electronically…. The number of medicare beneficiaries who received telemedicine visits rose from 10,000 a week to 300,000 a week in the last week of March 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal.”
Indeed, for the vast majority of health practices (in addition to hospitals), the key to helping patients and increasing productivity is syncing patient data collection with telemedicine videoconferencing so healthcare staff can serve their patients and do their jobs more effectively.
In this post, we’ll look at the data-collection trends of health practices over the last year or so that have made things easier for patients. We’ll also take a look at how JotForm’s Zoom integration has furthered telemedicine efforts and helped shape patient outcomes.
What is telemedicine, and how does JotForm’s Zoom integration fit in?
For those who don’t know, telemedicine is medical care (including counseling and therapy) delivered remotely using technology such as videoconferencing. Generally speaking, it can also describe nonphysician care, though that’s more commonly known as telehealth.
With benefits like the ability to remotely engage with a doctor over the phone or video, the elimination of in-office visits and time spent going to doctors’ offices, and the efficiency of quick responses via chat or messaging apps, telemedicine has much to offer.
Granted, there are challenges like insufficient internet access, which disproportionately affects people of color and rural communities, but the advantages of telemedicine heavily outweigh the challenges.
At JotForm, we’ve served many county health departments and healthcare providers: Scheduling appointments, registering new patients, conducting assessments, performing screenings, etc., are a natural fit for data collection. As an example, the number of JotForm HIPAA users with at least five monthly submissions grew 151 percent from January to June of 2020.
The healthcare industry has made moves in recent years to go from paper-based record keeping (which is risky due to data security concerns, cost, and lack of environmental sustainability) to online records or electronic health records (EHRs). We’re proud to play a part in that effort.
Through our integration with Zoom, health practices can easily schedule telemedicine appointments through JotForm and sync them to Zoom via our free scheduler.
I Love JotForm. My business simply would not exist without their HIPAA-compliant form builder with excellent backend support.Christine May, Principal Dentist & Founder of ViDe Virtual Dental
Data-collection and telemedicine needs unite during the pandemic
With the arrival of the coronavirus, demand for socially distanced interactions ramped up. The need for HIPAA-compliant online data collection and management — paired with the ability to conduct telemedicine — provided a unique opportunity to offer a valuable service to healthcare users.
In late 2019 JotForm had a Zoom integration on our to-do list, but it was clear that patients’ needs (and health practices’ responsibility to support them) couldn’t wait, so in 2020 we announced our Zoom integration.
JotForm’s integration with Zoom met telemedicine and data-collection demand by using submitted information from online forms to create new meetings, add registrants to an existing meeting, and collect registration details. We wanted to automate the process of scheduling meetings through Zoom so health practices could concentrate on improving patient outcomes.
Moreover, we granted frontline healthcare workers tackling the COVID-19 pandemic unlimited access to our full suite of data-collection tools through our Coronavirus Responder program.
Did you know?
Because Zoom is one of JotForm’s HIPAA-compliant integrations, when you send fields containing protected health information (PHI) to Zoom, you’ll be able to use that information in your Zoom meetings. Also, healthcare providers who want to use Zoom can sign up for plans that are HIPAA compliant. Zoom for Healthcare includes encryption features that protect PHI, allowing you to use video and audio to conduct telemedicine visits as you would any other videoconference.
Health practices using JotForm and Zoom
We looked at JotForm’s customer statistics encompassing a period from November 2019 to February 2021 to view the adoption rates of online data collection among healthcare practices. By definition, the category includes businesses as varied as healthcare distributors, suppliers, and technology companies, to nursing care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and smaller practices.
While not comprehensive, there’s enough data to get a feel for how healthcare industry usage of digital data collection looks compared to overall use, in parallel with the surge in telemedicine.
For the healthcare cohort, paid and upgraded usage of JotForm jumped more than 300 percent as the pandemic took hold. Even after the early pandemic surge, user growth levels achieved a “new normal,” reflecting industry awareness of the benefits of online data collection.
Along the same lines, the amount of active Zoom integration users started strong. (Our Zoom integration was developed in 2019 and launched in May 2020.) This data includes other industry categories, but it provides an indication of the trend. Since the height of the pandemic last May through February 2021, the number of users grew 21 percent, showing that more of them are linking data collection to Zoom meetings and telemedicine.
And they’re only getting started.
In a telehealth impact study, 71 percent of surveyed physicians and other healthcare clinicians agreed that their organization’s leadership is motivated to increase the use of telehealth in their practice moving forward.
Finally, JotForm’s effort to aid pandemic relief by offering free HIPAA-compliant accounts to eligible first responders, healthcare workers, and government and nonprofit organizations (our Coronavirus Responder Program) has seen tremendous activity since its launch in March of 2020.
This cohort isn’t exclusively healthcare related, as governments and nonprofits are also included in the program. But the overall number of approved Coronavirus Responders has risen nearly 100 percent from December 2020 to January 2021 as first and second vaccines have begun to be administered.
This reflects how different users within the healthcare industry continue to discover and use online data collection, while making the process of scheduling appointments and providing information easier on their patients.
Form type trends for health practices
As mentioned earlier, the uptick in online healthcare data collection that started prior to 2020 only gained steam once the pandemic hit. It was a joint response to our immediate circumstances and the fact that health providers were trying to meet patients where (and how) it was convenient for them.
According to research from Accenture, 77 percent of patients agree that the ability to book, change, or cancel healthcare appointments online is important. And after a review of 5,000 forms within JotForm, appointment and registration came out as the top form type for the health category both before and after the pandemic (using mid-March 2020 as the apex).
However, it’s worth mentioning that the emergence of COVID related surveys, evaluations for health screenings, and consent forms for medical releases all gained significant ground after the onset of the pandemic in 2020, joining registration forms as the most popular types.
This welcome trend opened a new world of convenience for patients. They no longer had to spend time in crowded waiting rooms filling out this information. Additionally, digital data collection helped prevent the possibility of compromising the health of patients and staff.
Use JotForm and Zoom for a better patient experience
Now that we’ve experienced its efficiency, telemedicine usage — and online data collection to populate EHRs — is not only sustaining pandemic era levels but will most likely increase going forward. JotForm and Zoom serve the healthcare audience through HIPAA-compliant platforms that enable improved customer and patient outcomes.
Health practices can easily collect health information and schedule telemedicine appointments through JotForm, and have face-to-face virtual meetings through Zoom — all while protecting patients’ collected data. Discover how JotForm’s Zoom integration can help you provide great care to your patients.
Featured photo credit: Harvard Health, Harvard University