Studies have shown that patients are interested in healthcare providers taking a more active role in their overall health and wellness, and not just caring for them when they’re sick. In fact, according to a recent survey, 80 percent of respondents stated that a healthcare provider’s job needs to be more about preventative medicine, wellness and chronic disease management than simply treating disease.

Luckily, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) put incentives in place for hospitals and other healthcare providers to adopt electronic health records (EHRs). The movement towards EHRs has created a sea of healthcare data that is empowering healthcare providers to do so much more for patients than simply examine and prescribe medicines or treatments when they’re sick or injured.

By analyzing the data available about their patients, healthcare providers can become more proactive and embrace a more patient-centric form of care. They can identify the patients that are most likely to develop chronic conditions or suffer from certain diseases and proactively reach out with information and recommendations for making healthy choices.

“The roll out of EHRs is creating a wealth of digital healthcare information about patients that can be managed, analyzed and shared,” said Dr. Deborah A. Jeffries, Director Global Healthcare Marketing for Polycom. “This information is giving healthcare providers the ability to identify people who may be at risk for certain conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, and proactively reach out to them in an attempt to change their behavior and put them on a pathway to improved health..”

However, once these at-risk patients are identified, a new challenge is created. What is the most effective way of communicating with and engaging these patients in their own care? Collaborative video for healthcare is the answer.

Utilizing today’s advanced Unified Communications (UC) technologies, such as video teleconferencing (VTC), healthcare providers, case managers, discharge planners, and members of Affordable Care Organizations (ACOs) and health advocates can collaborate – creating a video enabled health community where patients, and providers, can have face-to-face conversations. These conversations can center on the behavioral changes and lifestyle choices that they can embrace to promote wellness, and to prevent them from getting worse. Not only can they meet one to one, but with collaborative video they can reach out to the masses on multipoint and streamed video calls for educational and support sessions.

Also, similar to what we discussed in our previous articles about battling readmission rates and chronic disease management, video collaboration solutions can be used for multipoint video conversations between at-risk patients and their peers. Known as peer-to-peer medical education, patients successfully battling chronic conditions can speak with at-risk patients to stress the importance of making lifestyle changes to increase their wellness, and communicate face-to-face with each other to discuss the best practices that are working for them.

Finally, healthcare providers that identify patients as at-risk can utilize video collaboration solutions to record unique video content that can be viewed online between check-ups and appointments that provides wellness guidelines and information. They can also check in with patients via video to discuss the progress and results of their programs.

“As EHR data and data analytics enable healthcare providers to better understand trends and best practices, they become more proactive in their engagement and outreach to patients and more focused on patient wellness, making video collaboration an increasingly essential tool. Video collaboration solutions are an effective way to discuss risk factors with  patients, , provide them with a healthy path forward, , connect them with peers to discuss best practices and even provide increased access to follow-up sessions, and ongoing care to ensure they’re staying on the road to wellness,” said Dr. Jeffries.

Patients are demanding more engagement and communication with their healthcare providers, as well as a shift in focus from the treatment of disease to a patient centered wellness model. EHRs are providing the data that healthcare providers need to utilize predictive analytics to identify problems before they occur. Video collaboration solutions are driving the engagement with patients needed to then keep them on the path to better health.