A commissioned study released by Zoom in May found that more than half of adults in the United States would prefer to access healthcare via a combination of remote and in-person visits even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. That study may have influenced the video conferencing giant to develop its HIPAA-compliant Zoom for Healthcare platform, now available in beta for Apple mobile devices.

Zoom for Healthcare is a mobile browser client that lets patients connect easily with healthcare providers, without needing to download the Zoom app. A receptionist or clinic office staff can use the integrated Zoom scheduling feature to set up a virtual appointment, then send a secure link to the patient via text or email. Clicking the link launches the remote session in the mobile browser.

The streamlined process makes joining a telehealth appointment simple and fast. This enables less tech-saavy patients to access telehealth more easily, allows patients to join the appointment from any iOS device or any full-scale web browser, and reduces strain on provider IT departments and administrative personnel. 

Providers can perform virtual examinations using the platform’s far-end camera control feature. Specialists and other clinicians can collaborate by making notations — visible to all participants — directly on the shared screen during video appointments. The platform integrates with certain medical devices and physician carts, as well as with the Epic electronic health record (EHR) system.

Following the beta release, Zoom plans to develop additional features, such as the ability to chat with office staff and play pre-recorded video while patients are in the virtual waiting room prior to an appointment. Because Zoom for Healthcare meets HIPAA security requirements, practices and health systems don’t need to contract an additional service to provide a secure video conferencing platform. That will likely be a significant factor in keeping telehealth at the forefront of healthcare delivery beyond the pandemic-driven remote care phenomenon.