Digitalization through the use of APIs is allowing resource-scarce aged-care facilities to bridge distance constraints to provide quality telehealth services.

Caring for the eldercare and the disabled in the current pandemic and in mandated social distancing circumstances has been less inconvenient for both non-profit organizations and their clients, thanks to video telehealth solutions. 

For example, one non-profit in Australia uses video streaming to conduct events online for more than 600 of its members across the country. Running seven days a week, these events cover a wide range of activities beyond healthcare, from exercise classes and talks on healthy living, to games, entertainment and virtual social gatherings; and they can be experienced on any smart device.

Said Ian Bonner, Senior IT Project Manager, Feros Care, Australia: “Many of our clients either live in remote areas or are not able to interact socially with others for various reasons. The Virtual Social Centre is an inclusive app platform that allows our clients to socialize, learn new skills or just catch up with others.”

Bonner provided a secure and scalable platform that delivers reliable audio/video quality for his center’s existing infrastructure by using an application programming interface (API). The software plugin enabled easy integration within the Feros Care platform, and supports a wide range of mobile operating systems and browsers.

Australia’s accelerated Telehealth needs

Telehealth is increasingly becoming a critical tool, particularly in aged care, a vital industry with Australia’s rapidly ageing population

According to the country’s Department of Health, healthcare providers delivered 28 million telehealth services to over 10 million patients between March and the end of August: over 118 times as many consultations as were delivered before the pandemic.

Researchers claim that the country is unprepared to meet the demand of its ageing population, particularly in regard to healthcare and community services. Therefore, telehealth services—offering elderly and less-mobile patients a high standard of care at home—will continue to rise as the population ages. In addition, loneliness is a significant issue in the older generation which increases the risk of premature death by 26%.

“Telehealth has also become an important channel for our clients, particularly for seniors who are especially vulnerable to health risks like COVID-19 and who may be reluctant to venture out,” added Bonner. “This valuable resource means our clients can continue to have access to healthcare providers and we can break down their loneliness through fun activities, new skills and by staying connected with like-minded individuals from the comfort of their homes.”

Expanding possibilities with digitalization

One way for resource-stretched non-profit organizations in Australia and around the world to quickly add video streaming and related telehealth capabilities into their existing applications is through the use of APIs by relevant providers.

In this case, Feros used an API by Vonage, whose Senior Vice President and General Manager (APAC), Sunny Rao, said: “It’s vital for healthcare and social service providers to be able to deliver a continuous, effective service during the pandemic, and adopting telehealth services means that those forced to self-isolate can get help from practitioners and caregivers, without the need to travel—an important step to protecting vulnerable communities and healthcare professionals.”

Using APIs, organizations in the process of digitalization can integrate multiple communications channels such as video, voice, chat, messaging, email and verification into their applications, products, and workflows to increase CX and omnichannel relevance.