When my kids were younger, we would watch “Finding Nemo” time-after-time-after-time because they thought it was one of the best animated movies made. I used to sit with them and watch too, laughing just as much as they did at all the great parts: Bruce the shark trying hard not to eat any little fish; all the seagulls squawking “Mine, Mine, Mine” and Dora, the fish that has no long term memory, and, when presented something shinny and new, she goes with reckless abandon to see the new thing.
I relate to Dora…put something new and exciting in front of me and I am all over it. I love new gadgets, new things that might make my life easier and less stressful. But having been in this technology space for 23 years, new sometimes means not ready for prime time.
So when WebRTC was released, I did what I always do: looked at it, tried it and said to myself, “when it’s been here a while, I’ll buy into it.” Well, I think I was wrong. My normal Dora gave way to the safe, stuffy traditional video modes I so hang on to for the past 23 years!
WebRTC is real, it’s here and it works. If you are looking for ways to get into the Telemedicine space at an entry level, WebRTC might be a good way to start small and grow big. If you have been unlike Dora…doing the same thing year after year because it’s tried and true, look into WebRTC as a possible breakout solution for you. You might just say “Mine, Mine, Mine” when you are all done looking!
Expensive hardware. Special software plugins. Application downloads. Varying system requirements. Limited hard drive space or system resources. Lack of interoperability.
These have all historically been considerations that technology managers in healthcare had to deal with to successfully implement a telemedicine strategy to provide remote healthcare services to their patients. Quite honestly, for some healthcare facilities, they also acted as a barrier to entry based on the cost or the technical resources of the facility. The costs of acquiring hardware and developing a comprehensive and secure telemedicine strategy seemingly outweighed the potential benefits telemedicine provides.
Enter WebRTC. Web browser Real Time Communications.
In short, WebRTC is an open source platform that leverages a communication application built into PC web browsers like Opera, Chrome, and FireFox and into mobile operating systems like Android and Apple OS.
This takes the term “just browsing” from a term to describe casual interest to one of serious business. If you have been daunted by the technical considerations of video teleconferencing in healthcare, here is why you should be excited about WebRTC.
It’s “skinny”. WebRTC uses a skinny client software integrated into the web browser. This eliminates the need for valuable system resources to be used to store large proprietary application files.
It’s browser based. WebRTC does not require any specialized hardware or require the user to download special applications. It runs on existing computers and anyone utilizing a browser that supports WebRTC has access.
It’s secure. WebRTC is subject to existing browser security protocols and data encryption is a mandatory feature. “WebRTC is currently regarded by some to be one of the most secure VoIP solutions out there.”
It’s open source. Interoperability has been a major issue with proprietary teleconferencing solutions, one that has been difficult to solve, so much in fact that many are giving up on it altogether. WebRTC is not a proprietary, branded piece of software. It is an open source project which means many interoperability concerns are a thing of the past.
It works with legacy investments. For those with an existing video teleconferencing solution, many legacy hardware solutions, like those from Polycom, are supporting expansion of their systems through WebRTC. This allows facilities to leverage all the QOS and enhanced security features of those systems while providing easier expansion in new facilities and access to remote patients via WebRTC.
In short, if you’re aware of the benefits telemedicine offers to your facility and are looking for a resource light, easy to implement, and secure solution that will work across browsers and with existing dedicated hardware, you need to look at WebRTC. Then the next time a patient needs a remote check-up or some aftercare, they can get access to it by “just browsing”.
Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org