Telehealth In The Mid-US Is Flourishing

telehealth in the U.S.Nebraska, in the middle of the United States, is full of spacious stretches of land and sky with widely scattered inhabitants. Although it has a long way to go before it maximizes telehealth, it might be the first place it was used in the nation. Some 55 years ago, Dr. Cecil Wittson, a former University of Nebraska Medical Center dean and chancellor, did some psychiatric consultation with two-way audio and video similar to closed-circuit television. At the time, it was the best way to treat distant patients without transporting them many miles to an office.

A recent article in the Omaha World-Herald gives an interesting update to Nebraska’s telehealth progress. “Doctor’s home visit is back – kind of- as telehealth flourishes nationwide” by Rick Ruggles looks at the way things have changed.

“This is like the tsunami. So much is happening. Technology is changing really rapidly. Legislation is changing,” said Mandi Constantine, who was hired 15 months ago as executive director of telehealth for the Nebraska Medical Center to hasten the hospital’s efforts.

Telehealth is being used in rural areas to connect specialists to patients in local doctors’ offices without having to drive hundreds of miles. Psychiatric appointments are happening in nursing homes via videoconferencing instead of transporting frail patients and compromising their health. The Nebraska Med Center has at least 13 new test projects and initiatives in telehealth covering a wide range of specialties.

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs began using telehealth in the late 1990s, adding remote patient monitoring in the following decade. Last year, 608,900 patients were cared for using home monitoring, videoconferences, and related technology. According to Dr. Adam Darkins, the Veterans Health Administrations chief consultant for telehealth, the VA saves about $2,000 a year per patient with technology that costs about $300-400 per patient annually and keeps them out of the hospital. Video telehealth specialties include wound care, nutritional counseling, infectious diseases, and psychiatry.

It’s interesting to see how video conferencing and similar technologies is improving healthcare in areas that previously had few medical options. WhyGo has been watching the global state of the video conference for over ten years, and it is exciting to see telehealth be an established part of medical practice.


3 Advantages Of Videoconferencing For HR

HR videoconferencingHuman Resources professionals have been using video conferencing to interview prospective candidates for some time now. It is a good tool for managing training and flexing work schedules, as well as increasing productivity. The majority prefer using video collaboration technologies over email and voice conferences because it effectively removes distance barriers and improves team productivity.

In the case of job interviews, video conferencing has some distinct advantages:

  • For many HR directors, reducing travel costs is very attractive, but they need to be able to see a candidate face-to-face before making an ideal evaluation. Video interviews are effective in allowing both goals to be achieved. The ability to reach candidates who are geographically scattered without the expense and time of travel benefits everyone.
  • Both the candidate and the company are interested in shortening the time it takes to fill an open position. Video conferencing allows many interviews to take place with widely scattered potential employees in as little as a day. This speeds up the hiring process without sacrificing quality interviews.
  • The ability to go beyond the interview process to add training sessions and collaboration efforts allows organizations to develop flexible work environments that also increase productivity, reduce commute time, and result in staff satisfaction and loyalty.

WhyGo’s global network of public and private video conference and telepresence facilities makes connecting with any potential job candidate, anywhere, a lot more practical. It’s just is a matter of Human Resources setting up a meeting with the candidate’s nearest room on the WhyGo Video Conference facility booking system. This works much better than a coffee shop environment for a professional interview. It also is much more secure for potentially sensitive training or collaboration sessions. Explore the possibilities for your enterprise!

Tips For A Productive Virtual Meeting

virtual meetingsMany of the tips for a productive business meeting apply to the productivity of a virtual meeting. The constraints of an allotted time for a video conference make an agenda one of the most helpful tools for keeping that time productive.

  • Agendas should be distributed before the meeting convenes and include the last meeting’s minutes, status updates, and current contact information for all attendees. This will easily get everyone on the same page before the meeting starts. With technology, it is easy to email or fax this well in advance of the start time, but everybody should have the material to refer to during the video conference.
  • Opening remarks should include introductions, verify connections, and adjusting things like volume or camera angle if needed. It needs to be quick; you have a meeting to run.
  • Agendas need to clearly define the goals of the meeting and allow time for discussion and questions after each point. This back-and-forth exchange of ideas is essential for collaboration. The value of video is seeing each person as they speak, adding to the communication factor.
  • Questions on the agenda can help participants be ready for that discussion, if you actually stick to the agenda and ask. If the presenter never asks, people stop expecting to contribute. Boredom ensues.
  • Agendas can be used as a checklist to make sure every item was covered. If one has to be postponed, it should be on the next meeting’s agenda.
  • Prioritize your topics and arrange them logically. For instance, if a decision depends on the outcome of another topic, you can’t decide anything until the other topic is resolved. Urgent items should come first.
  • Be realistic about time factors. In a video conference, there generally is a limit on how long you are meeting so topic discussions need to be limited as well. You can only fit so many 5 or 10 minute topics into an hour’s meeting, particularly with the opening and closing remarks.

You can find more helpful tips on conducting a video conference at WhyGo’s Training Material and Information Guides page.

Healthcare Driving Video Conferencing Demand In Europe

video conference europe

A recent study by Frost & Sullivan on Video Conferencing for Healthcare finds that there are many opportunities for conferencing service providers in Europe to get in on the growing demand for both infrastructure and endpoints. Video conferencing offered in patient homes can be a major benefit to many, but the ability to travel a short distance to a clinic offering video conferencing for post-discharge programs, specialist consultation, etc. is a logical next step in the industry.

“Rising incidence of chronic diseases, an ageing population, and budgetary pressures on healthcare organisations in Europe have combined to generate demand for solutions that simultaneously enhance care and reduce costs,” said Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies Research Analyst Mark Hickey. “A number of successful pilot programmes and early stage roll-outs are expected to keep the adoption rates of video conferencing services high.”

Europe has many differing regulatory environments, and that variety creates a challenge for vendors. Cost, security, and privacy of patient information are also a concern, as is ensuring access is limited to the proper parties. Despite these challenges, the healthcare industry is displaying a growing demand for the use of video conferencing in practical applications, including mobile.

At WhyGo, we’ve been watching the use of video conferencing morph into new territory for over ten years. It’s been fun! It started out as a goal of making it as easy to book public video conferencing facilities as it is to book hotel rooms or airplane tickets. Now, we’ve added private rooms to the mix, are all over the globe with three teams to provide 24/7 service, and our network has over 3,500 video conferencing facilities and it’s growing all the time into new territory. Business, education, research, healthcare….what’s next?