Telecommunication has become so much more than not having to change out of your yoga pants for work. Even though that is a perk I greatly enjoy, video is a keystone that is changing the landscape of healthcare as we know it.
“Telehealth” is the use of electronic information and telecommunication to support long-distance clinical healthcare, education, public health, and administration. According to 2016 Acute Market Reports, the global healthcare video conferencing market, valued at US$335.2 million in 2017, is estimated to grow by CAGR of 12.1% from 2017 to 2025, those numbers are great, but what does it mean for you as an organization?
Improved Patient Care and Access
Thanks to Amazon, we have 24/7 access to pretty much anything we want, so why shouldn’t healthcare be the same? Well, it can. Remote monitoring programs at hospitals provide 24-hour support for medical personnel through real-time video to observe patients, provide digital patient monitoring, and offer interactive video communications with on-site medical personnel and patients. Video conferencing allows patients to connect with medical specialists who otherwise might not be available for in-person consults. These patients could be in remote locations that lack the expertise of specialists or have health issues that prevent them from traveling.
Research, information, and collaboration are crucial for advancements in healthcare. Video healthcare communications enable medical experts to collaborate real-time, share data securely, and discuss findings over distances. Imagine what could be accomplished when the best and brightest from around the world can work together with ease.
Improved Return on Investment
ROI is the buzzword that everyone looks for when undertaking a new project. Telehealth allows for hospitals to seek more patients that they might not otherwise be able to see. Patients that are in remote areas or have transportation difficulties could now be seen. In fact, in California, doctors can actually bill for video consult hours.
All of this sounds great, right? But what do you need to do in order to implement telehealth into your organization? Requirements for successful healthcare communications include:
- HD video, audio, and screen share across mobile, desktop, and conference room systems
- Cross-platform IM/presence with file sharing
- Webinar platform
- Works in low bandwidth environments
- HIPPA compliance – secure/encrypted
- Easy to deploy, scale, manage, and use
However, like everything else, there are some challenges associated with telehealth and video communication. Telehealth is still in its infancy so there will be implementation and technical issues, such as video connectivity, support, and differing platform data and systems among healthcare organizations and homes. America has an aging population, and if you have ever tried to explain the Internet to your grandparents you know where I am going with this. A learning curve will be required by patients and organizations alike.