‘We overcome the challenges of distance and time’, says Ron Emerson RN BSN, Global Director Solutions Market Development – Global Director of Healthcare, Polycom. In conversation with Shahid Akhter, ENN, he discusses the evolving IT scenario
Please specify some of the solutions offered by Polycom that has impacted the Indian healthcare industry.
Healthcare organisations are under pressure to reduce costs, increase revenues and deliver the best possible patient care with available resources. Aging populations, shortages of practitioners, as well as the rising costs of delivering patient care and an increasing shortage of hospital beds, also impact both patients and medical professionals. All these factors essentially contribute to the growing demand of telemedicine applications. Polycom’s Telemedicine solution allows clinicians to provide a high level interaction to provide patient care regardless of patient and clinician location. High definition video, along with our eco system of Telemedicine providers allows organizations to provide diagnostic quality care from a distance. Also, the requirement for continual medical education conflicts with demand for care especially as requirements on medical knowledge are increasing every year. With these developments, medical professionals are expected to keep up. However, there are not enough providers in practice to support the information overload. Polycom real time high definition video, along with our video content management solutions, allows healthcare professionals to receive education over real time video on any device, live streaming sessions or watch archived sessions at their own convenience. This flexibility and high level interaction is crucial in the dynamic and ever changing field of medicine. While benefiting from the telemedicine and medical education platform that Polycom provides, a healthcare organization can also use it for administrative purposes. Moving information in the form of high definition video rather than people provides an efficient way to conduct business on a day-to-day basis.
How video conferencing is becoming pervasive in healthcare business?
Healthcare organizations are under pressure globally… Aging populations, rising costs, large geographic distances and shortage and mal distribution of healthcare providers is forcing healthcare organizations to look at different way of providing care. Video has been proved as a way to increase efficiencies in patient care through Telemedicine, medical education through live, streaming and archived video and for use in administrative applications that increase the efficiency of the organization. Polycom is in 8 out of the 10 hospitals (Hospitals In US News and World Report 2013).
How a physician can now use a tablet device to collaborate via video with medical experts to streamline telemedicine evaluations, speed diagnosis, and help save lives?
Mobility is key for the clinicians. Allowing physicians to connect from any device or location is crucial to integrate Telehealth into their everyday workflow. This practice is common… a physician on a tablet in their home seeing a patient in the hospital on a telemedicine cart. A great example is Orlando Health in Florida, USA. Telestroke doctors are in their office or home on a tablet and connect to patients in the ER who are having a stroke to decide if thrombolytics are needed. This shows the importance and flexibility needed for clinicians in this space. This will become even more prevalent in India as more Physicians can access Patient Health Information from their tablets as they connect to electronic health records through the cloud.
Please outline the reasons why video conferencing in general and telemedicine in particular has seen significant growth?
We’ve outlined the challenges faced by the healthcare system that are driving adoption of Telehealth. High definition quality video is critical because it allows physicians the ability to provide clinical efficacy, or put another way to provide high quality care. The goal is to provide an experience where the patient and physician feel they were able to interact as if they were in the same room and for the physician to provide an assessment at the same quality of care as if they were in the same room.
he new innovative video and voice collaboration solutions available for healthcare businesses of all sizes in India?
India, like other countries can benefit from the advancement of video and voice solutions. For instance, Poly com can compress video to the point where a high definition video call (720 P 30 fps) can be made at as little as 512 kbps. This is key because many voice and video calls are made over the open internet. Also, loss packet recovery allows packet loss of up to seven percent not noticed by the user. This video compression and buffers to lower bandwidth environment still allow a great experience for the user. Also, video and voice on any device is critical. Many healthcare professionals carry the phone or table of their choice and this technology allows them to have secure connectivity on those devices. One last key advancement is adhoc meetings. Polycom released CloudAXIS which allows users to simply email a URL link to someone and when they click on it a video call will be made from any device. This provides flexibility and allows business (hospital/ clinics/ doctors’ offices) to connect to patients (Consumer) easily.
“Our ecosystem of Telehealth partners allows for a turnkey solution to meet all of our customer’s healthcare needs”
Why should one choose Polycom over other available products and services? Your USP?
Polycom provides a world class enterprise solution that meets needs of the organization. Our video, audio and video content management provide a solution is reliable (redundancy available) and provides the best quality at the lowest bandwidth. Using this platform, healthcare organizations can benefit from a multipurpose approach for Telemedicine, medical education and administration. Our ecosystem of Telehealth partners allows for a turnkey solution to meet all of our customer’s healthcare needs.
What product category is driving business in India for Polycom?
Utilization of Polycom solutions for Medical Education and Administrative use are prevalent in India, but Telehealth is gaining more and more traction and interest from healhcare organizations across the country.
What new should we expect from Polycom in the coming years?
In Healthcare, workflow and integration are key to successfully utilizing Telehealth. Polycom has and continues to build and integrate with key industry leaders to provide the best of solutions for our customers. Telemedicine is at a tipping point. Market drivers and demands followed by necessity are changing care delivery models. We’re positioned now and in the future for end to end solutions that provide scale, quality and integration into the daily workflow of physicians and healthcare organizations.