Tag Archives: technology

The Patient Journey, Technology, and the Waiting Room

As a recap in case you missed the be21497517 - group of patients sitting in waiting room of a doctorginning of this series, a patient journey map has two lines.  One line is the patient’s expected level of satisfaction.  This is the base level of expectation of what they feel a normal patient experience entails.  The second line contours the experience itself.  This line typically goes up and down throughout the patient journey, many times above the level of expectation, and many times dropping below gradually, or sometimes suddenly before returning.  These are called cliffs, and many times the patient careens off of these cliffs into a ravine of dissatisfaction.

The patient journey through the Waiting Room can be full of these cliffs.  However, through the use of some innovative healthcare technology, those valleys can be bridges, assuring increased patient satisfaction. Cliff One: Wait Times Ask anyone about their worst healthcare experience and it is almost assured that you will hear them mention wait times.  ERs across the country are overcrowded and their talented professionals are stretched to their limits daily.  There is one very simple piece of technology that can make a huge dent in wait times and that is video teleconferencing, (VTC). Video teleconferencing can be implemented in a couple ways to relieve ERs, Urgent Care facilities, and even PCP offices of overcrowded waiting rooms. The first way is to utilize VTC is to utilize it in lieu of an in person visit.  Facilities that have VTC can set up hotlines for patients considering coming into the facility to call beforehand, potentially allowing them to receive the care they need remotely.  Given that an increasing amount of visits to the ER and Urgent care are actually not emergencies or even urgent, this would help relieve a large part of the burden.  A licensed provider can make themselves available to discuss symptoms while looking up the patient’s health history via electronic health records, to potentially deliver treatment remotely and call in prescriptions, etc if appropriate. The second way to use VTC is for patients to utilize it in the facility itself.  For those coming into the ER or Urgent Care facilities, upon check-in they may be offered a remote visit with a physician depending on the severity of their symptoms.  In this case they would be offered a private room where a VTC system would be utilized to talk to a physician remotely from the ER itself, decreasing the patient’s wait time as well as keeping physician resources and exam rooms free for patients who do have emergencies, decreasing their wait times as well.  Given these patients are onsite at medical facilities, remote sensors can also be used in these consultations to transmit vitals and other biometric data to the licensed professional so that they may assure accurate diagnosis and course of treatment. Cliff Two:  Referral to Specialists Many times a patient waits for hours to see a physician at the ER or Urgent Care, only to find that what is ailing them is better addressed by a specialist.  That specialist may be booked for some time depending on their particular practice, delaying the patient’s journey toward wellness and sending them off the cliff of uncertainty while awaiting that appointment.  Again, through the use of a VTC system, the facility could offer the patient a specialist referral remotely via video conference as a way to get an initial assessment of the patient’s health.  An in person appointment may still be appropriate, but the initial consultation can go a long way to put the patient’s mind at ease, giving them some idea of severity of their situation and not negatively affecting their patient journey. As a provider, these may seem like simple solutions, but the best ones typically are.  Providing the patient with a path to talk to a remote healthcare professional face to face, whether they are at home or at one of your facilities, is the best way to assure that the waiting isn’t the hardest part. 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. Resources: https://www.google.com/search?q=JOurney+mapping&oq=JOurney+mapping&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3066j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 http://blog.avidex.com/the-ed-epidemic-and-what-to-do-about-it/ http://blog.avidex.com/the-wait-is-over-technology-and-the-continuum-of-care/

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

Journey Mapping, Technology, and the Patient Experience

 

Journey mapping has become a very popular exercise across several industries, including manufacturing, services and yes, you guessed it, healthcare. Journey mapping is much more than a buzzword or a fad however. It is an essential part of developing a superior patient experience. In fact, your practice or facility may have already or be in the process of creating a map of your patient journey.

As a quick overview for the uninitiated-

“A customer journey map tells the story of the customer’s experience: from initial contact, through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship. It may focus on a particular part of the story or give an overview of the entire experience.”

Journey maps are used to improve processes and create touchpoints that assure patients are satisfied with their care both throughout their journey and with the end result of their care. Given that the performance of a healthcare provider is now evaluated based on patient outcomes (70%) and patient satisfaction (30%) and that payments are dependent on performance in both areas, and all of a sudden a journey map can have a huge ROI.

A patient journey map has two lines. One line is the patient’s expected level of satisfaction. This is the base level of expectation of what they feel a normal patient experience entails. The second line contours the experience itself. This line typically goes up and down throughout the patient journey, many times above the level of expectation, and many times dropping below gradually, or sometimes suddenly before returning. These are called cliffs, and many times the patient careens off of these cliffs into a ravine of dissatisfaction.

This is where healthcare technology can play a huge role. Technology can create bridges across these canyons in the patient experience, keeping the patient above the line of satisfaction and helping to assure they are satisfied with their care.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that it relays many ways that technology improves the delivery and quality of healthcare. Over the next couple of posts we will link many of those technologies to the patient journey, addressing how the cliffs and valleys can be leveled out by implementing technology properly in your practice or facility.

The three major portions of the patient journey that will be analyzed are Admissions and the Waiting Room, Inpatient Care, and After Care and Follow Up. We’ll explore the cliffs that many patient experiences have and then how specific technologies can help bridge those gaps.

The technology in question does not always have to be patient facing either. There are many technologies that are visitor or provider-facing that can intimately affect the patient’s journey and their satisfaction.

At the end of the day, a patient journey map identifies as many opportunities as it does issues. It helps providers to make sure they are aligning outcomes with their patients. So stay tuned for the next post on how to capitalize on those opportunities through the use of innovative technologies.

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.

 

Resources:

https://www.google.com/search?q=JOurney+mapping&oq=JOurney+mapping&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3066j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

http://blog.avidex.com/the-role-of-technology-in-patient-satisfaction/

http://blog.avidex.com/aligning-outcomes/

Jim Scalise

About Jim Scalise

Jim is the Avidex Systems Integrated Group Manager and has been in the AV industry for more than 20 years. Jim oversees and manages the integrated systems team and is directly involved in design, application, project and field engineering as well as sales, service and installation support. Contact Jim at jscalise@avidexav.com

Don’t Wait, Simulate!

manican
There’s a great opening scene in Pixar’s Monsters Inc. where a monster cracks the door of a young child’s closet, quietly approaches the bed, and then just as he’s about to scare the kid from his peaceful slumber, the child wakes up screaming. The monster is taken by surprise, screams as well, and ends up accidentally injuring himself several times. Then the alarms sound, the camera pans out, and you see that it is not in fact a real child but a robotic simulation. The monster is in training on a sound stage, being observed by both instructors and his peers, and unfortunately, he has failed to pass this part of the real life simulation.

Of course this is a computer animated movie, set in a parallel universe, but the reality of this type of simulation in our world is not far from the truth, especially in the world of healthcare.

Medical simulation is an extremely valuable tool used today to train new medical professionals, and AV technology is essential in maximizing these simulation environments. You will find simulation labs everywhere from vocational trade schools to major universities to world class hospitals. The technology is not only experienced and utilized by the student, but as in the animated example above, also by instructors and the students’ peers.

Let’s take a brief journey through the technology that makes these simulation labs so valuable from the three perspectives of the student, the instructor, and the student’s peers.

The Student

A critical component of every medical simulation is the patient. Fortunately, students don’t get to practice on actual people having major medical emergencies, so instead a technologically advanced surrogate is used. The high definition mannequins or advanced patient simulator is the first major component of a modern simulation lab. These mannequins blink, breathe, and have heart beats and blood pressure. They can exhibit symptoms of physical, neurological and psychological illness and even respond to drug administration. When coupled with an array of medical equipment like EKGs and blood oxygen meters, students can start to assess symptoms. PCs or touch screens that give the students access to the simulated patients sensitive medical history and Electronic Health Records, EHRs, can also be used in tandem. A virtualized audio system may also be integrated so the student can alert the appropriate staff of the patient’s condition through the use of the facilities code system and a public address system as well. This combination of a patient simulator, sensors, medical equipment, displays, microphones, and speakers all help to realistically recreate the environment in which the student will be working in the future.

The Instructor

If there is one thing that is certain about patients, it’s that they are all different. A simulator is only as good as it is programmed to be, and going through a few pre-canned scenarios may be helpful to some degree, but in the real world, things don’t always go as planned. It is for this reason, technology also allows the instructor to control these simulated environments. Typically there is a control area outside of the simulated patient room, where the instructor will use a control system to initiate a condition in the patient simulator. This means that a touch screen of some kind will most likely be used. A computer or processor is needed to send data to the patient simulator. The instructor can create unique combinations of symptoms and patient responses to them, keeping the student in the mode of active thinking, an important skill set to be had by any medical professional.

A camera system can also be employed to give the instructor a more detailed look at the way the student handles the initiated emergency and/or condition. There may also be a two way communication system between the control area and the simulated patient room so that the instructor can listen and even coach the student on next steps.

The Student’s Peers

Finally, technology can allow observers not directly involved in the simulation to witness it first-hand without having to be hands on.   Many simulation labs have an observation window where other students can sit and observe the simulation and the involved student’s response to the instructor triggered events. There are also displays that may show these students duplicate vital data available on the machines in the room. Those same screen may relay what type of event the instructor has triggered, so they can observe what would be the typical response of a professional given those parameters.

The cameras in the simulation room may also be leveraged with some type of codec to encode the video for live streaming over the internet or for live video teleconferencing, to make the simulation available in other rooms or other campuses live and simultaneously. These same cameras also facilitate recording for later distribution, in classroom teaching, or even a review of the active student’s role in the simulation and how they performed.

As you can see, technology has allowed simulation to reach new heights in medical schools and facilities across the US and the world. A strong working knowledge of Audio Video technology has become increasingly valuable in designing, installing, and maintaining these systems as well.

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.

Resources:

#1: http://www.laerdal.com/us/SimMan3G

#2 http://blog.avidexav.com/cracking-the-code-of-state-of-the-art-hospital-communication/

#3: https://www.wctc.edu/programs-and-courses/health/hps-lab.php

 

 

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

“Lobbying” for Better Patient Experiences

“What’s the difference between a Dentist and a Sadist? A Sadist has newer magazines.” –Jerry Seinfeld

The quality of entertainment in waiting rooms and medical lobbies in the past has been suspect at best. Old magazines, Reader’s Digest, and medical pamphlets strewn across a couple of end tables in a white room with fluorescent lights were the norm and an easy target for jokes. However, there was little correlation that could be drawn between the potential quality of care and some old magazines, so this was easy to overlook and make the subject of a joke or two. However, in today’s world of technology intensive medicine, ushospital lobby 2ing subpar technology in these spaces is no joking matter.

We’ve always heard that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The patient experience starts when a new patient makes an appointment, and usually the next impression is formed in your facility’s lobby. You may be thinking that the quality of the doctor can easily overcome any impression the new patient may get from their lobby experience.

But is that completely true?

Granted, no amount of effort spent in lobby design can overcome the anchor of an inept physician. However, in today’s world of healthcare, where medicine and it’s doctors depend on an assortment of high tech equipment to properly diagnose and treat their patients, can a low tech lobby send the wrong impression about the provider’s investments in technology?

Here are some tips for using technology in your lobby in a way that will assure your patients have a lasting first impression that is in line with your commitment to modern medicine and exceptional patient outcomes.

  1. Keep it neat. This may seem like the most ridiculous tip to start with, but experience in visiting medical lobbies around the country will tell you it is very often overlooked. People pay attention to lobbies. There are even Pinterest pages dedicated to them for goodness sake. One of the worst things to do is to invest in technology, and then have it installed crooked with cables hanging down and the satellite box and or media player sitting precariously unsecured on top of the sagging mounting hardware. It may leave your patient thinking that attention to detail is low here or “I hope they don’t leave stuff hanging out of me after surgery.” If you are investing in technology, invest in the proper installation by a professional to go with it. It makes a huge difference. 
  2. Set the tone. The lobby design game has officially been “upped”. There is more to using technology in these spaces than hanging a couple TVs playing Judge Judy. Lobby design today considers everything form calming patients’ fears to creating privacy areas to supporting their mental and spiritual needs. Invest in things like quality audio, sound masking technology, customized lighting, and unique content on your screens that help set this tone. 
  3. Get engaged. The best way to create a memorable experience is to get the patient involved. There may be a high level of anxiety or curiosity about your practice and/or the upcoming experience. Use technology in a way that helps satisfy this curiosity and allay any concerns. An interactive facility map that highlights research areas or high tech laboratories, digital collages of patient testimonials and positive outcomes, or even a video introduction to your doctors and their education and specialties are all great places to start.
  4.  Think outside the rectangle. If you invest in technology in the ways suggested above, you need to make sure that patients are drawn to it. Everyone has a 4” HD screen in their pocket, so a plain TV on the wall may not garner much attention. Think of using arrays of screens to make larger canvases or even unique shapes and aspect ratios that beckon patients and reinforces the unique nature of your practice instead of leaving patients “to their own devices”.
  5. Make it personal and portable. Remember that 4” HD screen in everyone’s pocket? Use it to your advantage. Create unique ties from your lobby technology experience to those devices to make data portable and easily accessible for future reference.

Remember that technology today is all around us, and our experiences with it are getting increasingly more elegant. The technology in the lobby area should mirror the commitment to technology in other areas of the facility and practice. Just as much thought should be put into the technology in these spaces as was put into the decision to buy a euro-inspired espresso machine for the lobby instead of that truck-stop coffee pot. First impressions still matter. Make yours positive and lasting.

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.

Resources:

#1: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/medical-office-design/

#2: http://www.hfmmagazine.com/display/HFM-news-article.dhtml?dcrPath=/templatedata/HF_Common/NewsArticle/data/HFM/Magazine/2015/Jun/last%20detail-design

#3: http://www.catamaranrx.com/Insights/Innovation-Center/

#4: http://www.bdcnetwork.com/4-hospital-lobbies-provide-healthy-perspective

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 Healthy is Your Technology Experience?

horse eatingA year ago, one of my two horses decided to step on my left foot. After applying 1,800 pounds of pressure on my foot, my quarter horse walked away. I was rushed to the hospital for a visit with my ER doctor. I remember them asking about my pain level when I got into the waiting room…then they administered the proper amount of pain meds to make my stay comfortable.  For the hour-and-a-half I waited to get x-rays and a walking cast fitted, my pain started to subside. I was glad I whimped out and told them a “9” because I could not have handled not getting the pain relief sooner than later. If you need some “pain relief” at your hospital, don’t wait until it hurts. Call me now and I’ll give you the right amount of pain meds to make your daily stay at the hospital much more enjoyable!

When assessing a patient complaining of pain, it is always important to qualify the level of pain the patient is feeling in order to properly prescribe the appropriate care and/or medication. Today, most doctors and facilities use a Universal Pain Assessment Tool in order to qualify each patient in a more objective way. These tools ask patients not only to rate their pain on a scale from 1-10, but also allow the doctor to ask questions about daily activities in order to compare the stated pain level with the actual effects the level of pain is having on the patient’s activities.

In the spirit of that same philosophy we’d like to ask you to assess the health of the audiovisual technology in your facility. First, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your patients’ technology experience? Is it a 10? Is it a 7? Is it a 2? It may be hard to give yourself a rating. (See how your patients feel when you ask them about their pain?)

Never fear! Just like with the pain assessment tool, we’ve included a small checklist below to help you get an idea of how healthy your experience really is. Take a minute to quickly answer the 10 questions below and find out if your technology experience throughout the patient journey is strong like an ox or flat-lining and in need of some CPR.

1) Does your lobby technology assist patients in checking in and/or navigating your facility? Y N
2) Do you use digital signage to inform patients about your facility or potential services and treatments offered? Y N
3) Do your patient rooms utilize up to date technology equivalent to what patients would have at home? i.e. HD programming, flat panels, etc. Y N
4) Do you use interactive technology to allow patients to control blinds and lighting in their rooms? Y N
5) Does your facility have an interactive patient engagement system to educate patients on things like after care and discharge instructions? Y N
6) Are you using speakers not only for messaging and background music but also for sound masking and privacy? Y N
7) Are you utilizing a patient tracking system to assist both staff and patients’ families in staying up to date on each patient’s progress? Y N
8) Do you leverage technology in the OR or a simulation lab to create opportunities for knowledge sharing and or consulting/training? Y N
9) Are you utilizing video teleconferencing, voice lift systems, and effective video to hold meetings and train remote employees or conference with other facilities? Y N
10) Do you leverage telemedicine to promote better patient outcomes, enhanced aftercare, and reduce readmissions/return visits? Y N

Now count up all of your Yes’s above, giving yourself 1 point for each one. How did your score compare to the rating you gave yourself initially? Use the scale below to get an idea of the overall health of your technology experiences. (Please click on image to enlarge.)

pain tool

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.

 

Resources:

#1: http://compass31.org/living-at-an-8/

#2: http://blog.avidexav.com/creating-better-patient-outcomes-through-interactive-technology/

#3: http://blog.avidexav.com/patient-tracking-systems-reducing-the-cost-of-healthcare-and-waiting-room-anxiety/

#4: http://blog.avidexav.com/theres-more-to-hippa-than-encryption-choosing-the-right-vtc-platform/

#5: http://blog.avidexav.com/telemedicine-a-428-million-silver-bullet/

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

Are Doctors Too Connected To Their Technology?

Today technology has become an inseparable part of the healthcare industry, facilitating effective treatment, lowering medical costs, and bettering continuity of care. While doctors are leveraging technology to provide treatment and care, there may be concern that they are becoming too connected to technology. A current report on MedcityNews.com discussed a survey that revealed some shocking truths about how present-day medical practitioners are using technology and their attitudes toward it.
Recently a survey was conducted at the Integrative Health and Medicine conference on 754 medical practitioners, 78% of whom are physicians. According to the survey, over half of all healthcare practitioners surveyed confessed to feeling more attached to computers than their patients on “most days.” Moreover, 65% of medical practitioners have considered quitting medicine, as they no longer find it rewarding. While this second survey from the conference revealed some startling statistics, the first one had some equally eye-opening revelations:
According to the first survey, only 19% of healthcare providers using telemedicine are being reimbursed for it by insurance. In spite of such roadblocks, healthcare providers are continuing the use of telemedicine – 67% of respondents are either providing services using telemedicine now, or have plans to do it in the coming years.
Here are some more findings from the survey:
• More than half the time, 56% of respondents feel disappointed with their healthcare practice.
• 62% admit to having a patient overload.
• 5% feel exhausted for an average of fifteen or more days every month due to their work schedule.
• 31% feel burned out for more than half the time due to work.
• More than one third of respondents reported that they were not getting full reimbursement for over 40% of patient visits.
Despite the tech wave sweeping over the healthcare landscape, there is a disconnect existing in the system that is not only coming in the way of more fruitful tech adoption, but is also causing dissatisfaction among healthcare professionals.
The survey results certainly raise some serious concerns for the industry, and time will tell how well those concerns are met. Are you as surprised by the findings as we are?

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 Smartphone Technology Is Going To Revolutionize Healthcare

pateint on cell phone with doctorSmartphone technology has already dramatically changed society, but there are areas where smartphones will have a particularly big impact in the future. Healthcare is one of the biggest of these fields. There is plenty of evidence that makes it easy to see how smartphone technology is going to revolutionize healthcare in the very near future.

Improving Provider Communication

We already have the ability to get in touch with doctors and their staff members at almost any time thanks to smartphones. The next step in the evolution of smartphone technology in the healthcare field is more sophisticated communication between healthcare colleagues. Instant file sharing, video communications, and conference calls with multiple people simultaneously will all help doctors collaborate more effectively.

Telemedicine

No discussion of how smartphone technology is going to revolutionize healthcare would be complete without including a mention of telemedicine. Telemedicine allows doctors to see their patients without being in the same physical place, which is ideal for rural patients or those who cannot easily travel to a healthcare appointment. The data to support the rise of telemedicine is already there; business analytics firm PricewaterhouseCooper reports that roughly 50% of all consumers would be willing to use technology to access healthcare services. Smartphone technology should continue to have a big impact on the delivery of telemedicine, as the number of adults who used their cellular phone to receive information about their health nearly doubled between 2010 and 2012.

Integrated Healthcare Platforms

When looking at how smartphone technology is going to revolutionize healthcare, it is important to consider smartphone tools as a part of a larger system. A great example of this kind of integrated platform is Apple’s iOS 8 upgrade, which is set to include a new app called HealthKit. HealthKit allows users to monitor things like nutrition, sleep, and footsteps. HealthKit will be designed to work in tandem with the iWatch, Apple’s upcoming entry in the controversial field of wearable technology.

HealthKit and iWatch will be excellent technology for consumers looking to become more mindful about their health. However, most industry experts believe that the success or failure of the HealthKit and the iWatch will hinge on whether or not the healthcare industry is willing to adopt these tools for patient monitoring. In an article published recently in The New York Times, Brian Chen draws parallels between Apple’s negotiations with the music industry to sell music on iTunes and its collaboration with healthcare partners to make the HealthKit and the iWatch a success. History already tells the story of Apple’s success in the music industry with iTunes and the iPod: only time will tell whether or not Apple can find similar success in the world of healthcare.

Regardless of how successful the iWatch and HealthKit are, these healthcare tools and others like them exemplify the most important factor in how smartphone technology is going to revolutionize healthcare: creating a proactive system of health monitoring that allows for early detection of health issues and communication of these issues to providers using several different tools. As smartphone development continues to push towards changing healthcare forever, it will become increasingly important for patients and providers alike to have access to the right platforms and programs to make healthcare communications with smartphone devices safer and more efficient.

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

Healthcare Consumers Ready For Technology

New Cisco Study Shows Patients Overwhelming Ready For Technology In Healthcare

One of the interesting debates that has continued in the healthcare space has been just how willing are patients to have their healthcare taken care of via digital means?

For the longest time patient care has been done via direct engagements between the patient and the doctor providing a feeling of privacy and confidence in the doctors diagnosis and recommendations for treatment.

Technology is changing that.  According to a Cisco Customer Experience Report for Healthcare, patients are more ready than ever for technology driven healthcare. In fact, 70% of patients say they are comfortable with their healthcare communications being done via technology, including 19% who would actually prefer a video consult over a live doctor visit.

Check out the article below for a great infographic providing visual data of the new technology aware patient and their growing comfort with technology as a means of delivering healthcare services.

If you are a technology professional in the healthcare space and you are interested in learning more about how technology can drive your organization forward, the team at AvidexAV would love to help.

Click here to see the infographic provided by Cisco

Shedan Maghzi

About Shedan Maghzi

Shedan Maghzi - Avidex President has been directly involved in the AV industry for over 25 years. Maghzi joined Avidex in February of 2004 as General Manager of Northern California. He later advanced into the position of Vice President of Avidex’s Fremont, CA office, one of the nation’s most successful audiovisual groups providing design, systems integration and support services. Maghzi has held a wide range of leadership positions in the AV industry including Project Manager, AV Consultant, Director of Technical Services and General Manager with leading San Francisco Bay Area audiovisual firms. Shedan can be reach at smaghzi@avidexav.com

Healthcare Shifts From Patient Model to Consumption Model

In a world where people are more informed than ever before the patterns of purchase behavior are changing and they are affecting not just the way we buy products, but the way we consume services as well.

Healthcare is also feeling this shift as patients move away from the “patient mindset” and become consumers or users of healthcare.

Technology is leading this transition, as we are now more acutely monitoring our health with wearable devices that track our exercise and food consumption. Mobile applications and patient portals that give us direct access to information about ourselves that we could not have imagined just a few years ago augment these devices.

Other technologies such as telehealth and video conferencing that are completely changing the healthcare experience can be found in the meeting spaces and operating rooms throughout hospitals and healthcare facilities.  Such technologies make it possible for patients and doctors to connect faster and doctors and specialists to collaborate in real time to solve important health care problems.

In this article “A Consumer View of Healthcare Reforms and IoE driven Healthcare IT Innovations” Cisco goes deep into how “The Internet of Everything” is changing the entire consumption experience of healthcare services. Learn more by reading the article and if you are interested in changing the way your organization communicates check out more from AvidexAV. To read the full Cisco article click here.

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