5 ways healthcare organizations are doing more with Google Workspace

By Michael Ames | Senior Director, Healthcare and Life Sciences

Modern healthcare organizations are challenged to provide comprehensive yet convenient care experiences for digitally savvy patients while adhering to privacy and security practices mandated by regulations like HIPAA. Healthcare professionals must be able to easily and openly collaborate with each other and with their patients in real-time, but their communications must be secure.

Google Workspace equips medical facilities, front-line caregivers, and other healthcare professionals with the modern, cloud-based tools they need to improve internal efficiency, optimize clinical decision-making, and enhance patient care without compromising on security. Here are five ways in which healthcare organizations can do more with Google Workspace:

1. Enable patients to communicate with loved ones when in-person visits aren’t possible

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Google Meet provided a way for hospital patients and loved ones to communicate when hospital visitors were barred for safety reasons. Even beyond COVID-19, there are many scenarios where in-person hospital visits aren’t feasible, such as if a patient must travel to a distant facility for highly specialized care, if family members are scattered throughout the country or world, or if family members simply lack transportation. Meanwhile, many elderly or low-income patients may not have smartphones.

A hospital-supported family communications service, where patients have access to Chromebooks or Android tablets equipped with Google Meet, provides all patients with the opportunity to speak with and see loved ones even when they can’t visit in person. Meetings are encrypted by default, and Google Meet adheres to the same comprehensive privacy and data protection commitments as the rest of Google Workspace.

2. Give front-line and mobile caregivers access to patient data on the go

Value-based care payment methods and shifting care models require open collaboration between healthcare professionals. Patients’ protected health information (PHI) must be easily accessible by distributed care teams, but also secure from unauthorized parties. 

Google Workspace’s advanced collaboration features and mobile security tools let healthcare organizations easily implement their own secure file repository and file-sharing solution for files and data not managed by electronic medical record systems. Just implement device-level encryption on Android devices or Chromebooks, paired with mobile device management and a HIPAA-compliant Google Drive. Within the drive, create separate folders for each patient to hold digital copies of scans and diagnostic tests, care notes, and treatment plans.

Doctors, nursing staff, and other members of the patient’s care team can use their secured Android devices or Chromebooks to access the shared Drive and patient folders from anywhere. They can also add additional files, update existing documents and spreadsheets using Google Docs or Sheets, and leave comments and notes for other caregivers. Google Drive will automatically save and sync all changes so that any caregiver who accesses a patient folder will always be viewing the most up-to-date information.

3. Provide a home base for collaboration between clinical teams and administrative staff

More than just an instant messaging app, Google Chat helps distributed care teams connect and collaborate effortlessly and securely. In addition to one-on-one chats, users can set up dedicated virtual rooms, assign and create group tasks, share files, seamlessly collaborate on content created in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and even set up bots to automate simple tasks. Threaded conversations keep discussions organized, and powerful search features make it easy to find past conversations and files.

Google Chat can be used either as a standalone app or accessed directly from Gmail, just like Google Meet. This makes it easy for care teams to keep track of all their communications and select the right channel for every conversation, whether that’s a one-on-one or shared Google Chat or a Meet videoconference with up to 250 participants.

4. Streamline paper-based operations

Use Google Forms to reduce paper-based processes. For example, Google Forms can be integrated with a hospital’s food services department to allow inpatients to place meal orders.

Google Forms is also an invaluable tool for collecting patient feedback. When an inpatient is discharged or an outpatient visit is concluded, they can be directed to a Chromebook kiosk to fill out a feedback survey, or the facility can email the survey directly to the patient for them to fill out at home. The results will be saved in a secure Google Sheet, where they can be sorted and analyzed to further improve the patient experience.

5. Simplify human resources and scheduling

From recruiting and onboarding to ongoing training, human resources tasks can eat up a lot of hospital administrators’ — and employees’ — time. By leveraging Google Workspace, healthcare organizations can spend more time caring for patients and less time on administrative tasks.

When recruiting new employees, have job candidates submit their information through Google Forms, then use Google Meet to conduct interviews. Simplify the onboarding process by storing new-hire checklists, tax forms, and other onboarding materials in a Google Drive folder, then direct new employees to a Google Sites website where they can download the materials and watch videos recorded in Google Meet.

Likewise, Google Drive and Google Sites can be used to build a self-service training portal for new-hire training and continuing education. Employees can access training materials through their own authorized mobile devices, or organizations can use Chromebooks to set up dedicated on-site training kiosks.

You can also have supervisors post employee schedules on a shared Google Calendar, and have employees use Google Forms to submit time-off requests.

Learn more about migrating to Google Workspace with SADA

As a trusted Google Cloud Premier Partner, SADA understands the complexities of the healthcare industry and has a track record of helping customers harness the power of Google Cloud to solve their biggest challenges. We’ve helped numerous organizations migrate to Google Workspace to optimize their operations while empowering their workforces to provide the best patient care possible.

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