Video Calling in Healthcare: Getting Started

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We visit plenty of healthcare organizations to discuss communication technology in healthcare.

One subject which has recently come up time and again, is video calling in healthcare. What could this mean for the care providers and patients? 

The initiative

In the Netherlands, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has set goals for innovation in healthcare in which video calling (also known as ‘telemedicine’) plays an important role. One of the goals is that in 2019, everyone receiving home care should have the option to use a video call tool to contact their healthcare provider.

The benefits of video calling in healthcare are being researched abroad as well – organizations are running trials and funding is made available for the development of tools.

It is safe to say that there is support for telemedicine from governments – but what of the consumer? In our day-to-day reality, technological innovation proceeds lightining-fast and this also changes the needs of the consumer. The government usually can’t keep up – innovation is driven more quickly straight from the market.

beeldzorg-thuiszorgThe benefits

As benefits of video calling / telemedicine, reports from (among others) Nictiz, the Dutch competence centre for standardisation and eHealth, mention the following:

  • Clients are able to continue living independently for a longer period of time;
  • It increases clients’ general independence;
  • It saves time (for both the client and the care provider);
  • Patients / clients with mobility issues are no longer required to physically attend consultations;
  • Care providers do not necessarily need to be in a specific location to do their job;
  • It saves costs on, for example, waiting rooms and parking spots.

Healthcare specialisms in which telemedicine and video calling in general can play a prominent part are, among others, home care, mental healthcare, nursing and general practices.

Tips for implementation

But how can your organization get started with video calling? Here are a few things to consider.


  • Map out what is required. 
    What are the needs of healthcare providers and patients / clients? What should the video calling tool your organization is going to use be capable of? Should the tool support just one-on-one video calls or also group video calls?
  • Set clear guidelines for your team.
    Decide how your organization will use video calling and communicate this clearly to your team. Think of, for example: which employees can use video calling to provide care and to what kinds of patients / clients? From which locations can video call services be provided? Are there any issues which cannot be discussed via video call?
  • Help patients / clients get started.
    Patients / clients also need clear instructions. Walk them through the system and the rules for using it, so that they know what they can expect and how they are to use the telemedicine options provided by your organization.

videocalling healthcare patient

Video calling with the Alterdesk messenger

Our messenger now also offers the option to start video calls straight from an existing conversation. Want to know more? Check out our video calling page.