Monthly Archives: December 2014

video chat with Dr

Consumer Service on the Cutting Edge: Virtual Customer Assistance

In 2014, Amazon introduced Mayday, a video chat feature aimed at supporting users of the company’s Fire Phone and Kindle Fire devices.  Customer support via video is not widespread yet, but many analysts believe Mayday could be a game-changing sign of things to come.

Video Chat:  Today, customers expect help to be just a click away.  Recognizing this trend, companies like Best Buy have encouraged their employees to answer tech questions using social media channels such as Twitter.  Similarly, texting live with customer service agents is becoming routine these days.  Video takes this kind of instantaneous customer service to a whole new level.

Product support is becoming multichannel; customers want tech-help through whatever platform or device is handy to them.  Younger consumers, in particular, want their problems solved in real-time.  Video chat offer the possibility of a simpler, but also richer form of customer service experience.  However, getting face-to-face help is just the begining of a more extensive interactive support service.  For example, Mayday includes a screen sharing feature, which allows customer service representatives to see the customer’s display.  Furthermore, both parties can use point and draw tools to highlight helpful information or instructions.

Digital signDigital Signage and Wayfinding:  Digital signage represents a quantum evolution of the traditional sign.  Today, corporate buildings, hospitals, government agencies, campuses, museums and many other organizations are utilizing digital wayfinding maps and interactive kiosks to help guide users through their facilities.  Using touchscreen technology, these displays have interactive maps, video tour guides and special announcement features, which help users to navigate their way.  Additionally, these digital signage systems often incorporate QR tags and SMS options so that directions and other pertinent information can be sent to visitors’ smartphones.

Video Kiosk Check-in:  Digital kiosks are interactive computer platforms that allow users to service themselves.  Popular at malls, airports and car rental agencies, video kiosks are now being used to supplement healthcare staff in many medical facilities.  For example, kiosks are now used in hospitals ambulatory environments and emergency rooms.  They can be used to smooth the check-in process, screen patients, collect payments and much more.  In fact, today’s medical kiosks can do far more than just collect patient information from insurance and ID cards; they often include video linkage to care providers, monitoring equipment, wayfinding information for patients and data analytic capabilities for providers.

Undoubtedly, kiosks offer cost-saving benefits.  However, their primary purpose is to improve customer service and satisfaction.  Medical organizations, for instance, have found that kiosks reduce patient wait time while improving convenience and medical privacy.

Video communications are taking customer service to an entirely new level.  Today, consumers expect organizations and brands to address product and service inquires expeditiously and through whatever channels the digital user finds convenient.  Increasingly, this means connecting to consumers via their mobile devices, digital signage and IM chats.

Video, digital wayfinding and computer kiosks are just a few of the high-tech methods organizations are utilizing to streamline and improve the customer’s experience with their companies.  In particular, providing face-to-face customer service via video means companies can combine cutting-edge technology and the human touch.  As it happens, using these forms of video assistance is a great way of enhancing the consumer’s experience with your company and building brand loyalty.

Resources:

#1:  http://www.citeworld.com/article/2378580/sales-marketing-tech/mayday-yet-another-customer-service-channel-is-upon-us.html

#2: http://www.visix.com/interactive-wayfinding-digital-signage.html

#3:  http://www.kioskcts.com/healthcare-kiosks/

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

Accreditation Program for Direct-to-Consumer Telemedicine Services

Recently the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) launched an accreditation program to recognize those healthcare facilities in the U.S. that offer online, direct-to-consumer healthcare consultations while meeting specific standards.

With the concepts of telemedicine and remote healthcare gathering momentum, the launch of such a program is well-timed. ATA’s research has estimated that some 800,000+ online patient consultations will be provided this year and that number is expected to increase as more consumers and healthcare providers discover the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online medical services.

Talking about the program, Jonathan Linkous, CEO of ATA, said, “ATA’s Accreditation Program is designed to ensure transparency and patient safety as online services for healthcare proliferate.” He further explained ATA’s vision behind the program, “We’ve seen an explosion of online healthcare service offerings in recent years, and a growing need to assure consumers are making good choices. ATA’s Accreditation Program for Online Patient Consultations will provide benchmarks for organizations building an online practice. In addition, it will provide reassurance for payers that the virtual services they are reimbursing follow federal and state laws and regulations, assure patient privacy, are transparent in pricing and operations, use qualified, licensed providers, and follow appropriate clinical practices and guidelines.”

ATA has also launched SafeOnlineHealth.org, a resource through which consumers can understand the growing use of digital and telecommunication advancements in healthcare services. Here visitors can also learn about telemedicine, online healthcare, and see the list of accredited providers.

Registration for the Accreditation Program will be open to ATA Institutional Members, Sustaining President’s Circle, and President’s Circle members exclusively from Dec. 15, 2014 through Feb. 28, 2015. The program details are available at http://www.americantelemed.org.

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

Walgreens Gets Into Telemedicine

U.S retail pharmacy giant Walgreens has announced a partnership with telemedicine company MDLive to offer its customers 24-hr access to medical assistance via digital health technology. How will this move affect the U.S healthcare and telehealth industry? A recent Forbes article discusses the impact of this move.

Lowering the cost of offering healthcare services is one of the most obvious drives behind healthcare companies entering into the telehealth market. For instance, MDLive’s “virtual visit” or consultation with a physician is priced at $49, and may cost even less depending on the customer’s health insurance coverage. Moreover, with reimbursement options opening up for remote healthcare providers, major drugstore chains like Walgreen, CVS Health (CVS), and Walmart Stores are stepping into remote healthcare to gain from these benefits.

This, however, is not Walgreens’ first brush with telemedicine. The drugstore giant had forayed into telehealth last year when it launched a “pharmacy chat” feature that connects customers with the company’s pharmacists and staff around-the-clock. From this perspective, its deal with MDLive can be viewed as an extension of its telehealth services with a broader reach.  For now, Walgreens will make this service available to its customers in California and Michigan, with “plans to rollout to additional states and markets over time.”

The article cites Walgreens’ chief medical officer, Dr. Harry Leider, as he explained the company’s vision with regard to telehealth, “We are going to be getting into the telemedicine space where you consult a board certified physician from your computer, your tablet, or your phone,” Leider said in an interview at the 2014 Forbes Healthcare Summit. “We are extending this idea of convenience into the digital space.”

Digital health technology is being supported by factors such as the Affordable Care Act and insurance payment trends that are gradually taking patient care out of the hospital and putting choices into the customers’ hands. The current focus is on improving treatment and continuity of care while reducing the overall medical expenses.

The full impact of telemedicine remains to be seen as more and more companies jump on board. It will be interesting to watch how Walgreen’s adoption will pave the way for telehealth in the retail sector.

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

Telemonitoring – An Effective Method of Chronic Care and Treatment

As a part of their mHealth summit preview, mHealthNews.com recently featured an article that discussed how remote monitoring and telemonitoring are improving patient’s chronic care during in-between visits. How is telemonitoring impacting treatment these days and what does the future hold?

Currently, patients suffering from chronic conditions usually make periodic visits to their doctor’s office where their health data is collected and examinations are done. But, what happens in-between those visits? There is a pronounced gap in the continuity of treatment and care that impedes effective management of chronic conditions. Lately, telemonitoring is garnering a lot of attention as a possible way to close this gap.

According to Scott Flacks, COO of Ideal Life, a Toronto-based provider of customizable wireless health management monitors, proper management of chronic conditions requires records to be maintained on a daily basis. These more frequent record keeping efforts not only offer better chronic care, but also lower the cost of healthcare by helping to reduce the frequency of hospital visits.

The University of California, Department of Medicine recently conducted a study on 1,500 patients, and found that remote monitoring and telephone-assisted intervention by healthcare professionals lessened the chances of hospital readmissions among patients with heart failure. The results of the study are quite impressive.

The article cited Flacks’ view about the report: “the study used randomized cases to evaluate care transition intervention that included pre-discharge education about heart failure and post-discharge telephone nurse coaching, along with home telemonitoring of weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. It’s being billed as one of the largest randomized controlled trials of telemonitoring in patients with heart failure, and the first to combine the care transition approach with remote telemonitoring.” Researchers are hailing the study as “a rich resource of information on how best to use remote technology in the care management of patients with chronic heart failure.”

Another study was conducted at the Vidant Health system in North Carolina on 700 cardiac patients using biometrics and Ideal Life monitors. The results of that study showed that telemonitoring reduced bed days, re-admissions, and costs by as much as 66%, saving almost $4.4 million in healthcare expenses.

Flacks also pointed out that there’s a marked difference between asking the patient how he/she is feeling at home and monitoring the day-to-day condition of the patients first hand. “Giving doctors daily readings can’t do anything but help,” he said. Flacks dubbed telemedicine and telemonitoring “the healthcare of the future,” concluding that “In the end, it’s all about keeping the patient healthy and out of the hospital.”

Recent studies look like a win/win for telemonitoring. Do you think telemonitoring will become more widely adopted and lead to better chronic care and treatment?

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

Retail Weds Healthcare: An improved Scope for Remote Treatment?

A recent article published on MedCityNews.com has brought forth a new development that is very significant from the standpoint of consumer-driven healthcare. Minneapolis based retailing giant, Target Corporation, is joining hands with Kaiser Permanente, a leading healthcare provider based in California. They are set to open four in-store Target Clinics in Southern California, a move that can be viewed as a new step toward the fusion of retail and healthcare industries.

Three clinics have already been opened at Target stores in Vista, San Diego, and Fontana, and a fourth clinic is about to open in West Fullerton. All of these clinics will have nurses and practitioners from Kaiser Permanente.

While it’s not entirely new for Target to maintain in-store clinics, which they have been doing for almost a decade at a number of stores, this new venture will allow them to offer a wider range of healthcare services than they had previously offered in retail outlets. According to John Holcomb, vice president of healthcare for Target, the new offering will include a wide range of services such as telemedicine consultations, prescription reviews, pediatric primary care visits, OB-GYN services, vaccinations and flu shots, pediatric and adolescent care, and management of chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.

He pointed out that a key element of the collaboration is telemedicine, which combines Kaiser’s IT infrastructure with Target. This, he hoped, would cut the “dead ends” existing in the retail healthcare environment and broaden the scope of care available.

What might ensure the partnership is an exchange of data between the healthcare and the retail giant that could lead to a better understanding of patients through an improved vision of health IT and inter-operability. Holcomb said, “For the Kaiser member, from an IT perspective, we’re also able to integrate their records into Target. This is going to help us learn…I think that’s going to help the industry evolve.” He also explained that any access to patient information will be for the sole purpose of providing healthcare. Patient data will not be shared between the retail side and the healthcare side.

In Kaiser’s case, partnering with the retail leader “is the evolution of expanding” its services “into a setting that will provide patients with wellness support,” said Paul Minardi, medical director of business management.

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

The Wait is Over: The Future of Waiting Rooms

crowded waiting roomWaiting in the doctor’s office is about as entertaining as watching paint dry, but somehow it is never quite as relaxing.  All facetiousness aside, few things are more frustrating than sitting in a doctor’s office until the physician is ready to see you.  Today, thanks to technology, patients need not spend hours of precious time reading out-of-date magazines in their caregiver’s reception area.  Instead, innovative technologies and mobile apps are helping patients take the wait out of the waiting room by allowing them to get in a virtual queue so that they don’t have to waste time in a lobby or line before seeing their health provider.  Here’s how these tech tools are working to improve patient care and satisfaction:

Mobile Devices:  Today, an app called QLess puts patients on a virtual queue and lets them see at a glance their projected wait time.  The program also provides periodic text and voice message updates, which lets health consumers know more precisely when their provider will be ready to see them.  As a result, individuals can get a cup of coffee, run errands, or hang around the house until they know their doctor will be available.

Of course, if a patient expects to be delayed, then they can always send their providers an update via the app too.  The result: less waiting time for patients; and fewer walkaways, no-shows and empty time slots for health providers.

Physicians are realizing many other benefits from virtual waiting rooms.  For instance, in an era of social media and the empowered customer, health providers recognize that consumer satisfaction translates into higher online ratings, which undoubtedly effect the attraction of new clients (and the bottom-line).   Furthermore, by offering mobile apps and Internet–based services, many organizations can convert digital users and website visitors into regular in-clinic consumers.

Medicine Going Mobile: Care providers are also using telemedicine carts, mobile medical vans and video conferencing to connect patients with physicians prior to or as an alternative to face-to-face care.  Telemedicine – such as virtual consultations via videoconferencing – is gaining traction.   An additional trend gaining momentum is wayfinding via digital signage, where hospitals use digital signs – often incorporating video — that help visitors navigate medical facilities.

Digital Kiosks:  Digital kiosks are another option health providers are utilizing to help cut down patient wait time.  These self-serve video and computer platforms have proven popular in many environments, such as malls.  Today, care providers are using them in reception areas, ambulatory settings and even emergency rooms where they are used to facilitate patient check-in, screening and bill collecting.

Virtual waiting platforms help providers optimize workflow, reduce paperwork and improve medical care, all of which leads to better health results and higher patient satisfaction.  Further, virtual queuing and telemedicine apps come with another positive side effect: they can provide much useful information on patient behavior, patterns and outcomes.  For instance, data analytics gained through health apps can help identify patient preferences, wait-time, caregiver efficiency and many other important metrics.

All in all, virtual waiting rooms are a win-win for both patients and providers alike because they allow everyone to use their time and resources more efficiently.  The electronic waiting room may not be a cure for every ill, but it is a technological wonder that is improving the lives of many health consumers.

Resources:

#1:  http://electronichealthreporter.com/take-the-wait-out-of-the-waiting-room-how-mobile-queue-solutions-increase-patient-satisfaction/

#2:  http://electronichealthreporter.com/take-the-wait-out-of-the-waiting-room-how-mobile-queue-solutions-increase-patient-satisfaction/

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

The Evolving Walk-in Kiosk and How it is Shifting Telehealth

With health IT paving new inroads for better healthcare in the U.S, the adoption of telemedicine is in full-swing. A recently published article in HealthITOutcomes.com talks about the efforts of healthcare entities in Florida to bring telemedicine into children’s healthcare. What does the “pediatrician’s office” look like in telemedicine?

The Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH) and Florida Blue, an insurance provider in the state, have joined hands to offer healthcare services through HealthSpot, a private, 8-foot-by-7-foot enclosure, featuring touchscreens, medical devices, and videoconferencing capabilities. This will enable Miami Children’s medical specialists to extend telemedicine to patients ages two years and older.

While HealthSpot will function as a walk-in kiosk, it will also have an on-site, qualified medical assistant. The kiosks will feature high definition video screens and state-of-the-art medical devices like a stethoscope, scale, blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter, thermometer, otoscope, and magnascope. These devices will be digitalized which enable them to act as a medium to carry information to both healthcare providers and patients.

To utilize the services of Florida Blue, patients can either make an appointment, or simply walk in. The HealthSpot station can address common health issues, such as fevers, colds, rashes, allergies, and more. With the new location, Florida Blue can expand the reach of their telehealth services to children and adults as well.  In fact, Dr. Narendra Kini, president and CEO of Miami Children’s, thinks that the new HealthSpot location “will be a valued convenience to Florida Blue members of all ages.”

However, this is not the first telemedicine program by Miami Children’s Hospital. In 2013, it initiated MCH Anywhere, a pediatric telehealth program that provides evaluation of diagnostic and medical reports by board-certified clinicians via videoconferencing. Supported by a telehealth command center, MCH Anywhere has its base in the main campus of the hospital. This program has been crucial in knocking down the barriers of time and distance to offer healthcare guidance whenever needed.

As our children grow up in a tech immersed culture, it will be interesting to see how well received these high tech kiosks will be for treating children. Would you consider using a kiosk like The HealthSpot station in lieu of making an appointment at your pediatrician’s 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

Why Net Neutrality is so Important to the Advancing of Telemedicine

While the world is fighting to ensure a future of open and unbiased Internet, the American digital healthcare industry is particularly invested in the fight. The industry has witnessed phenomenal growth and innovation with the help of digital intervention. The accuracy of diagnosis has improved, the nature of treatment and care is better and more cost-effective, and the overall adoption of telemedicine has been successful. A recent article on TechCruch has discussed the role of net neutrality in telemedicine. Let’s explore its importance.

The open nature of Internet, and the free-flow of data enable sharing across multiple platforms. How does this help? To seek treatment via telemedicine, patients need to share their medical history and personal details with their physicians and caregivers online. They also access their personal health records online with the help of mobile devices and get medical consultation through digital conversations. Patients’ ability to access and share their records via Internet is only helped by the Internet’s openness.

While patients’ access is helpful, in addition, healthcare professionals are now securely sharing the clinical information of their patients with other doctors over the Internet. Doctors’ ability to consult with other physicians invites collaboration that brings greater expertise and insight on particularly difficult cases. Studies show that in the near future, over 10% of all doctor visits in the U.S. will be carried out virtually, via Internet video chat sessions. Telemedicine consultations will not only help millions of people by eliminating the need for unnecessary trips to the doctor, but will also benefit homebound patients, veterans, and those patients residing in rural areas with limited access to proper healthcare facilities.

These developments could, however, be thwarted by internet service providers (ISPs) who are trying to make Internet a paid medium. In early 2014, an appellate court passed a rule which says that ISPs could set prices on their services based of the type and amount of traffic they are driving from a website, unless the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decides to label ISPs as “common carriers.”  This means if the FCC decides not to classify them as “common carriers,” telemedicine could become more expensive. ISPs could legally charge a premium fee for their services from their customers, which would include both doctors and patients.

If net neutrality is not maintained, it would not only impede the progress made on the telemedicine front, but also crush the vision of making good healthcare available to one and all, without any discrimination.  Do you agree? We would love to hear your thoughts on net neutrality as it relates to telemedicine.

 

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

patient monitoring

The AV Advantage in Healthcare

Why is healthcare one of the fastest growing markets for AV technology?  Nowhere is it more critical for people to share, learn and apply information.  As most know, AV is short for audiovisual or audio video. It includes a wide range of technologies including; video conferencing, telemedicine, digital signage and wayfinding, telehealth, video streaming/recording/archiving/on-demand, audio reinforcement, collaboration systems, and control. All of these are used to meet, train, communicate, collaborate, review and share information in person and through the use of technology. Hearing, seeing and understanding this information transaction is key to the successful exchange of information whether it be secure patient information, or the latest development in cancer treatment. AV technology done right can speed up the process and save time, cut cost and improve lives.

AV applications and technological innovations for healthcare are happening at a phenomenal rate.  Telehealth, computerized simulation systems and cloud-based solutions are just a few of the hottest developments in the high-tech healthcare pipeline.  It is hard for healthcare providers keep abreast of AV innovations so that they can better serve their patients, improve efficiencies, and run their businesses.  Here are several AV trends that are impacting healthcare today.

Healthcare is Reaching Out to Underserved Markets and Areas:  Government is continuing to fund the use of telemedicine, and now telehealth to serve rural residents.  Similarly, hospitals are finding better ways to deliver care to patients in their homes (i.e., outpatient services via video consultation).  However, the multiplicity of end-user videoconferencing formats presents many challenges.  Cloud-based solutions can solve issues of video interoperability, which is important not just when it comes to connecting care facilities and consumers, but also for linking medical training programs to hospitals.

AV and Training:  AV is an ideal adjunct in the medical education process.  Video is often used to help simulate and analyze training sessions.  In a somewhat similar vein, many medical schools are experimenting with the use of video games to supplement the teaching process.  The gamification of education has proven successful with the military and the aviation industry.  According to Jeffrey Taekman MD., there is evidence to suggest that simulation-style learning is better than the traditional lecture and listening method.

AV and Automated Management:  AV technology can be used to automate and manage many healthcare facilities from one central location.  Radio frequency identification tags, electronic scanners for tracking equipment, and control management software allow organizations to monitor the location and status of equipment, no matter where it is on the network.

AV in healthcare is a lot more than using Skype to have a virtual consultation.  Remote and virtual attendants, wayfinding, digital signage, skills based routing and medical kiosks are just a few of the ways video technology is enhancing the delivery of healthcare.  However, the technology needs to be customized to the needs, not just of healthcare consumers, but to the unique requirements of the organizations that deliver medical education and services.  AV companies that know the medical field can help health providers ascertain what technological systems will best meet their needs and how to implement those solutions.

Resources:

#1:  http://www.infocomm.org/cps/rde/xchg/infocomm/hs.xsl/31945.htm

#2: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/usda-awards-millions-telemedicine

#3: https://www.aamc.org/newsroom/reporter/june2011/250894/games.html

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

Telemedicine and Digital Health to Become the Future of Healthcare Industry

As telemedicine becomes more widely adopted, we are noting its advantages over traditional medicine. In many cases, telemedicine is a better and more reasonable form of healthcare.  When we talk about the future of healthcare industry, it is obvious that telemedicine and digital health play integral roles. In a recent article featured in FierceHealthIT.com, Dr. Ezekial Emanuel, health economist and bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, offered a distant view of the healthcare industry’s future.

Dr. Emanuel, a keynote speaker at the recently-held New York eHealth Collaborative’s Digital Health Conference, estimated the death of almost 1,000 acute care hospitals due to the Affordable Care Act. He further said that while top hospitals will perform complex medical procedures and surgeries, the focus will shift from in-hospital recovery to enabling the patient to recover from his/her home using telemedicine and home-visits for continuity of care. Emanuel said that the use of digital tools will facilitate accurate data extraction for medical claims and electronic health records. The use of telemedicine and digital tools may help curb escalating costs.

Dr. Emanuel’s vision that “[t]he hospital won’t be the locus of care that it has always been,” likens to the ones shared by both Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in San Diego, and Eric Dishman, chief healthcare strategist at Intel. In 2013, Topol had told FierceHealthIT,

“The only reasons to have hospitals in the near term, thanks to the advances of remote monitoring capabilities, will be intensive care units, which are not going to go away, and operating rooms, as well as pre- and post-operation recovery areas,” Emanuel said. “But the remaining monitoring can be done at home, and will be far less expensive. Additionally, there won’t be as high of a risk for infections.”

In a 2012 interview with FierceHealthIT, Eric Dishman said that passing of health reforms will “unleash the innovation hounds” and more so because “now there’s economic incentive that can allow that to happen.” He added that face-to-face visits will no longer be a necessity, and could become totally optional by 2022.

What does this mean for healthcare professionals? A new survey published in the American Journal of Managed Care, offers the interesting perspective of healthcare professionals about the adoption of telehealth: Conducted on nearly 1,500 Michigan primary care providers, the study revealed that most respondents believed using health IT would impede their ability to see patients in the future, and thus impact the quality of care provided.

As innovation looms over the healthcare horizon, it is important to weigh the benefits and the drawbacks of these changes. Do you think the benefits of the digital innovation within the healthcare landscape will offer more advantages or challenges?

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