Industry News

Telepresence enhances medical care, reduce costs

You’re a surgeon who wants to learn a new procedure but the pioneering doctor performing the operation is in Houston and you’re in Seattle. Besides, you can’t always see well from the gallery. Instead, you can watch the surgery in high definition on your computer, tablet or even on your mobile phone.

You’re a medic at the scene of an accident but a victim’s condition is beyond your ability.  Call up an ER doctor at the hospital, and because he or she can see the patient, they are better able to guide you through the process, than if it was described on the phone.

Streamlined Medical Care

Welcome to enhanced 21st Century medical care and the rapidly growing area of personal telepresence and video conferencing.  These practical applications are taking video conferencing beyond chatting with friends and family at a distance. The future is now as the technology is already being used for these purposes and more. Wouldn’t patients love to cut down on traveling to the doctor if they could turn on their computer and visit the doctor? House calls return.

With businesses, patients and the medical profession looking for ways to trim costs, telepresence can achieve that without sacrificing care.  According to Telepresence Options:

 “It could be a cost-saver too. Some industry analysts have said remote monitoring could lead to savings of 20 to 40 percent by reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and catching chronic problems early. Others have cited pending doctor shortages -- a national gap expected to reach 130,000 by 2025, as the baby boomer retirement wave crests -- as reason to embrace remote health-care technology.”

Walk-in Telehealth Kiosks

Vidyo recently signed a contract with HealthSpot(TM), a pioneer in patient and provider driven healthcare technology. HealthSpot has integrated Vidyo technology into its cutting-edge telehealth station that provides high-quality medical diagnostics to acute care patients anytime, anywhere. Anchoring the telehealth system is the HealthSpot(TM) Station, a private, walk-in kiosk that offers patient access to diagnosis and treatment by board-certified doctors, via Vidyo-powered HD videoconferencing and interactive digital medical devices. This provides patients a face-to-face experience with a board-certified doctor who could be miles away. Each station is supported by a certified medical attendant who facilitates check-in, helps patients with devices as needed, and sanitizes the kiosk after every visit.

With continuing emphasis on “being green,” reducing doctor visits will cut back on the fuel patients would use to drive to the doctor. With kiosks like HealthSpot, there will be a reduction in paper work.  Not to mention, the improved efficiencies with doctors delivering direct one-on-one remote consultations.

Vidyo and Internet2 Partnership Brings Collaborative Potential to Education

April brought exciting news for America's higher education system. Vidyo, Inc. and Internet2 have partnered to offer a low-cost, subscription-based video communications system for all Internet2 university members and thousands of public K-12 schools in the United States. Early adopter enrollment is expected to begin in May.

The introduction of a reliable telepresence service into our educational system yields endless possibilities. As our capacity to connect with the world strengthens (via the internet and mass media), so does our understanding that we do not exist in a vacuum. Collaboration is imperative. Telepresence technology facilitates important collaborative relationships regardless of geographic barriers.

Vidyo technology has clear benefits in higher education, particularly between research programs. Multiple research teams across institutions and disciplines may work together to examine and solve important problems. Research teams traveling to satellite sites may remain connected to campus activities and support crews. But this partnership in education also inspires other ideas.

With Vidyo technology, we may see educational collaborations between the professional world--corporate, industrial, trade, human services, global--and education institutions, both higher and K-12. Such collaborations could improve the capacity of our schools to produce a highly and appropriately skilled work force, as participants exchange information about changing trends and needs. Such collaborations could inspire students in the choices they make regarding their futures, being given an insider's perspective not possible through strictly theory-based curricula.

With the ability to engage in real-time (face-time) communication across geographic barriers, students have the opportunity to learn from a wide variety of experts via discussions about current issues. Education becomes more meaningful when it jumps out of the textbook. Also, it shrinks the distance between the classroom and the global context. Students who see a world outside of their own neighborhoods are more likely to exercise compassion for others with different worldviews.

The partnership between Vidyo and Internet2 to bring reliable telepresence technology to education is an exciting step toward meaningful and collaborative learning and exploratory experiences.

Growth of Telepresence Despite Economic Obstacles

Despite an overall lackluster economy, the growth in telepresence still remains promising. While the benefits of telepresence and video conferencing are clear, obstacles in the World Macroeconomy prevented certain businesses from making the transition; in the past few years, companies have had to prioritize again and again, and even cut back on which at first they deemed essential. However, there were still some improvements in the telepresence and videoconferencing market, signaling both the current strength and future prospects of the industry.

Recent research provided by IDC shows that the worldwide enterprise videoconferencing and telepresence equipment market was $2.64 billion in 2012, down from $2.71 billion in 2011. However, they attribute this decrease to macroeconomic variables rather than a decrease in demand for the equipment.

While the overall equipment market decreased, other aspects of the telepresence and videoconferencing industry saw healthy growth. In 2012, room-based video conferencing grew 4.1 percent from 2011, and personal videoconferencing grew 5 percent.

The benefits of videoconferencing remain intact and relevant. Businesses can still cut down on increasing travel fees and save time and energy by hosting a video conference rather than an actual meeting. In addition, the telepresence and videoconferencing industry both depends on and is driven by network externalities. Similar to how the fax machine became more useful when other businesses purchased fax machines, videoconferencing becomes more desirable as other businesses adopt the technology. With growth in the industry and the equipment market seeing new customers enter the industry, videoconferencing is set to continue it's growth and increasingly be seen as a necessity for day-to-day business.

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