Monthly Archives: September 2014

See The Doctor While Sitting In Your Office

employee with dr on computerThe old sick day. Something pops up in the office and you needed to leave, just tell the boss you aren’t feeling well and away you go.

But wait, not so fast.

If technology has its way (and it will), in the coming years the old illness excuse may become the worst trick in the book because a doctor’s visit may be just around the corner. With the advancement of telemedicine, soon the doctor’s office may be right down the hall where you will be able to see a doctor and have an immediate consult without ever leaving work.

According to a recent Healthcare Dive article – Employers’ use of telemedicine expected to increase dramatically, nearly half of businesses intend to incorporate telehealth services in 2015 and some even intend to offer incentives to those who utilize them. The article outlines the goals of such programs as avoiding primary care visits and costly emergency room bills.

What is even more interesting is that this trend is showing strong continued growth as the survey suggested that the number of companies that will incorporate telemedicine by 2017 would grow another 34%.

Another interesting consideration is whether this will lead to increased productivity as companies could start to better monitor and manage sick days and employee time away due to illness.

At Avidex AV, we work closely with our healthcare partners to deliver the very best audio, video and telemedicine solutions to meet the growing needs of their employees and patients. Connect with us to find out how we can help your organization.

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

How To Use Technology To Save Money And Increase Efficiency Through Standardization

presentation room ftraining room fThe current sluggish economic climate means that many companies have to be more careful about their spending. While information technology is a necessary cost of doing business, it is still critical for today’s companies to save money on their IT & AV expenditures so that they can do more with their budget. One of the most effective ways of using technology to save money and increase efficiency is through standardization. Standardization can provide organizations with several key benefits, including a reduction in IT/AV downtime, support and lowered training costs for new users.

Reduced Training Costs

Training is a big factor in IT/AV costs. Consider the case of the Arlington Science Focus Elementary School, located in Arlington, VA near the nation’s capital. Charles W. Harvey III, the senior instructional technology coordinator for the school, told EdTech magazine recently that using the same computer hardware, presentation tools, and applications in all 30 of the school’s classrooms has given teachers and students the ability to move between classrooms and grade levels seamlessly, without wasting time and money on complicated training systems. Harvey went on to say that he never has to worry about re-teaching basic concepts on different types of hardware and software and can instead focus on advanced concepts to make learning easier for students.

Lowered IT Support Costs

Another major benefit of standardization is that you can reduce the amount of support costs that your organization faces when it comes to keeping your network systems up and running. If you streamline your technology by purchasing hardware from a single vendor, for example, you will only have to deal with one particular support department and one set of patches or fixes.

One of the big concerns of professionals interested in using technology to save money and increase efficiency is the upfront cost of buying technology from the same place. Critics may point out that it would be cheaper for businesses to shop around and buy each component of their network from a different source so that they can get the best price on their overall network. This argument does hold some weight, but Dana Norton at TechRepublic says that while you may not save money at the point of purchase when you buy from a single manufacturer, having a standardized hardware policy could be beneficial in the long-term when your upgrades and maintenance costs are less expensive. You also will not have to hire as many different IT support specialists when you standardize your technology, which is important whether you are bringing on internal staff or outsourcing your IT requirements.

Decisions about your technology should not be made lightly. Your company’s network is what allows you to communicate, collaborate and get important tasks completed. Standardizing your IT/AV systems is an excellent method of using technology to save money and increase efficiency for your business. The key is deciding which particular provider you will trust with your IT/AV requirements: be sure to do your research so that you can find an IT/AV specialist that can be counted upon to help you with your network requirements.

Jeff Miller

About Jeff Miller

Jeff has been working in the professional AV integration industry for over twenty years. During that time he has served as Designer, Project Manager and/or Account Executive for hundreds of projects. As an Account Executive at Avidex, he specializes in Medical, Education, and Control Rooms. He can be reached at jmiller@avidex.com

The Importance of Staying Vendor Neutral For Telehealth Adoption

The obvious benefits of telemedicine such as access to care and reduced cost in care delivery have become overwhelmingly hot topics in the medical community.

From newly imposed guidelines on reimbursement from the AMA to the continued growing adoption numbers that are coming up in studies by some of the leading analysts around the country. In short, Telemedicine is growing.

But it isn’t without hurdles and roadblocks. From a tough regulatory environment to being an industry that has done things a certain way for a long time, the new way of delivering healthcare has by no means unseated the more familiar healthcare delivery model. However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t optimistic.

For healthcare organizations that are following the trend, one of the key considerations is choosing the technology and platforms for the delivery of healthcare. One especially important consideration is determining what equipment you are sourcing in your telemedicine operations, and from whom.

In a recent iHealthbeat piece – Technology Advances Boosting Telehealth, but Challenges to Widespread Use Remain, an interesting point is brought up about how the medical industry has long been hampered by healthcare organizations sourcing technologies from companies that create proprietary solutions. In a world where technology is driven by open standards, using technology that is closed architecture and limiting isn’t only problematic but potentially a setback for the industry.

The piece continues on to talk about why CIO’s and Chief Medical Information Officers (CMIO) are diligent in making sure they don’t just go with the old and familiar names in telehealth and telemedicine, but that they also invest in solutions that are solving the more complex business problems rather than just meeting the technology need. A strong, but important sentiment as it comes to the future of healthcare technology.

At Avidex AV, we work side by side with our healthcare partners to deliver collaboration technology that meets the changing landscape of healthcare technology. Connect with us to find out how we can help your organization.

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

Sure, We’ve Heard of Telemedicine, But What About Telepharmacy?

When it comes to innovation, sometimes there are big sweeping changes and sometimes there are small more elegant changes, but either way, when innovation is done right it can change an industry.

For instance, when Telemedicine first made its way into the medical community it was a giant sweeping innovation that put a new light on an entire industry. Serving customers from hundreds or thousands of miles away using technology? That was a big deal.

Now that Telemedicine has for all intents and purposes moved into the mainstream, innovators are already looking for the next opportunity. Recently we talked about specialized telemedicine for neurology, but now a sister industry to the medical community is seizing technology to revolutionize the way business is done.

According to a recent piece in Pharmacy Times – Telemedicine Fills Pharmacy Services Gap Following Rural Store Closures, there has been some substantial investment made in recent months into the concept of “Telepharmacy.” Much like telemedicine it would be the exchange of services over technology, but in this case it would allow patients that have questions related to medication to connect to their pharmacist via video (embracing the cloud).

In the long run both small and major pharmacies could turn to this model to create the entire fulfillment process virtually, potentially saving time and money for those needing access to medication and pharmacy services.

At Avidex AV we provide a full spectrum of audio, video and collaboration technologies to enable telemedicine, telehealth and all the innovation in the medical industry. Connect with us to find out how we can help your business.

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

How To Share Documents Wirelessly To Your Presentation

easy buttonCommunication without Boundaries is the ultimate achievement for any group trying to make the experience of meetings seamless, wireless, unobtrusive and simple.  Unlike the commercials on television, the big “EASY” button rarely exists in conference rooms and meeting spaces. However, some companies have tried relentlessly to make that easy button appear with the help of wireless connectivity for document sharing and collaboration in meeting spaces.

Products like Christie’s Brio, Barco’s Click-To-Share, Crestron’s AM-100 and others have made the art of information sharing as easy as plug, click and share.

Hospitals are inundated with meetings from outside visitors and inside users trying to pass information to other meeting participants. By allowing these simple document sharing devices to be used in meeting rooms, less involvement from over-worked, understaffed departments like IT or AV allow for cost savings and reduced time wasting. Meetings can start without the use of cables, turning on external devices and/or switching units to get a PowerPoint or document on the screen.

Document sharing is a critical element of successful collaboration, training and meetings in today’s professional world. Participants need to be able to transmit important information to each other so that they can work together on projects, just like companies need to be able to present information about their products and services to potential customers.

The Benefits Of Wireless Document Sharing

When you have the ability to send documents to presentation systems without any kind of wired connection, it opens up your presentation capabilities. Guest speakers or presenters can come in and give presentations without any kind of concern about having the right cables to link into your network. This feature is especially valuable for institutions that have multiple locations in different areas that use different kinds of technology. Many of the devices used for wireless presentations can support multiple users at once, which enhances collaborative abilities and makes presentation areas less cluttered with wires, cables and devices.

Devices That Support Wireless Document Sharing

Sharing documents wirelessly for presentation systems requires the use of a piece of hardware that integrates these devices into a local network. If you are going to be using one of these devices, it is important that you pick one that gives you the right kind of functionality and fits into your company budget. Two popular options for sharing documents wirelessly are the Christie Brio series and the Crestron AM-100.

Christie-Brio-ProductChristie Brio

The Brio comes in three models: the Enterprise, Team, and Team+. The differences between these solutions vary depending on how many users need access to the device and whether or not you want your device on your company wireless network. Only the Enterprise is able to integrate into your company network. Christie’s Brio solution offers responsive content layouts, a simple session management interface, and the ability to connect to audio systems in a meeting or conference room.

Crestron AM-100

Crestron’s AM-100 connects to your local wireless network and then supports connections from a multitude of devices, including iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. The AM-100 offers quad view mode, which allows four screens to be viewed at once, as well as remote viewing, which lets users view presentations in their web browsers. The AM-100 also comes with wired ports as well, which can be helpful if you run into wireless issues.

Both of these devices make an excellent solution for sharing documents wirelessly for presentation systems. To decide which interface is best for your needs, think about your budget as well as the specific requirements that you may have, which will help you make wireless document sharing easy at your office.

 

 

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

Insights On Telemedicine From the 2014 ATA Fall Forum

If you have been around the telemedicine industry for a while then you are probably familiar with the American Telemedicine Association (ATA). This group, which is the largest advocacy organization in the world for the advancement in the use of Telehealth, serves thousands of members around the world.

Each year, the ATA hosts an event to bring together the industry’s top thinkers and the membership to learn about where the telemedicine industry is going, what stakeholders need to know, and of course for the opportunity to connect for a few days in real life.

At this years ATA event, the overarching theme was the use of telemedicine as a way to treat chronic conditions. Knowing that chronic conditions require a lot of ongoing attention, the successful use of telemedicine to treat chronic conditions could help meet a number of other ATA goals which include improved delivery of healthcare and reduced healthcare expense through the use of telemedicine.

In this Med City News article, you can see video clips from some of the sessions to get more insight on the conversations that were had at this year’s event.

At Avidex AV we are committed to the telemedicine and telehealth community. We work side by side with organizations throughout the healthcare industry to simplify the implementation of technology that helps health care reach more patients in less time. Connect with us to find out how we can help your organization.

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com

Why Neurology Is A Great Fit For Telemedicine

With explosive growth around the world the adoption of Telemedicine is showing no signs of slowing down. However, for most people thinking of Telemedicine they are thinking about remote healthcare and simple medical consultations. But is that the extent of what is possible?

In short, the answer is no, with Telemedicine there is so much more possible then just the well known popular applications. In fact, a recent article from Healthcare Informatics  digs into this very topic as they explore how “TeleNeurology” may be a great application for telemedicine.

In this article the author Miles Drake, an MD and neurology professor at The Ohio State University explores how neurology patients could benefit form the utilization of telemedicine.  One great example that Dr. Drake mentioned was the ability to make meaningful assessments of patients through simple verbal and physical interaction that can be made more than easily over video.

He goes on to discuss that there are certain limitations for a Neurologist as parts of a diagnosis are made based on touch and feel, however he clearly indicates that the majority of a diagnosis can be made in other ways, which is precisely why the adoption of telemedicine can help more patients receive care faster and less expensively.

In the future Dr. Drake believes specialty medicine via Telehealth will see strong growth and adoption.  We feel similar as we continue to work with organizations to expand their telemedicine offering.

At Avidex AV we work closely with our healthcare partners to deliver the best current and emerging technology to help providers connect more closely with their patients. Connect with us to see how Avidex can help your organization.

 

Jim Colquhoun

About Jim Colquhoun

Jim Colquhoun is the Chief Technologist for Avidex. Jim brings an exceptional record of management and operational experience, as well as expertise in the design and integration of communications, AV, and broadcast systems. Jim can be reached at jcolquhoun@avidexav.com

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) – The Challenge of Nonstandard Communication Links

Dr on Smart phoneBYOD is becoming extremely popular in today’s workforce. According to IT research firm Gartner, by the year 2018 70% of mobile professionals will handle their work using personal smartphones. There are some key benefits of BYOD policies: companies spend less money on computer equipment and workers are free to work in more places than ever before. There are also some challenges of nonstandard communication links with BYOD that must be understood and overcome by organizations that want to implement these kinds of policies successfully.

Security Concerns

One of the biggest challenges of using a BYOD policy in the workplace is coming up with a comprehensive security policy that can keep devices safe, especially when considering nonstandard devices that may not have the same security measures in place as normal devices. Ellyne Phneah at ZDNet writes that some of the BYOD security challenges involve lost or stolen mobile devices and unauthorized access of company data by third-party applications. To overcome these kinds of challenges of nonstandard communication links with BYOD, it is important that companies have a security policy that prevents against these types of risks, such as a comprehensive software suite that can separate company data from personal data on a user’s device. Often, these security tools can be used to remotely lock a device that is lost and then wipe all of the phone’s information if it cannot be recovered.

Picking The Right Platform

When you are going to be integrating a BYOD policy into your workplace, it is important that you are using the right kind of technological platform so that all of your devices are properly compatible with each other. This is one of the most difficult challenges of nonstandard communication links with BYOD. Are your nonstandard employee devices going to be able to access company servers? Will they be compatible with the collaboration or ERP software that you are currently using? To answer these types of questions, it may be necessary to bring in a specialist or an outside IT consulting firm that can help you ensure that all of your devices are compatible and will not cause any issues for your network in terms of compatibility.

Maintaining Compliance With Telehealth Regulations

Despite the security risks that are involved when BYOD policies are used in healthcare, it is still extremely popular with healthcare professionals. In a recent article in Healthcare IT News, it was reported that 9 out of every 10 Americans employed in healthcare use personal smartphones for work. Mike Lovett, executive VP of NextGen Healthcare, advises healthcare organizations that are looking to implement BYOD to ensure that they are using devices appropriate for the tasks that are being completed and create boundaries so that devices are not used in ways that could cause security risks for the organization.

These are three of the biggest challenges of nonstandard communication links with BYOD, however there are plenty of other obstacles that organizations looking to implement BYOD successfully will face. Make sure that you think carefully about how your organization will implement BYOD in a way that is safe, effective, and meets all of the standards put in place that govern your industry. 

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com