Video conferencing has benefited almost all sectors and helped those sectors to grow rapidly. With high-speed internet connection, high definition video conferencing and portable devices to conduct video conferencing, work and decision making have become easier and faster.
Health sector has also benefited a lot from this technology of video conferencing. For doctors to remain abreast with the latest development in the field of medicine is necessary. At times,attending seminars or workshops might be difficult due to geographic location or time constraint. Even to present a lecture simultaneously at multiple locations is not possible for any individual. In such circumstances, video conferencing is like a boon. Hospitals can connect among themselves to form their network and conduct discussions or consultations for better and improved healthcare without the need to transfer the patients. Besides being cost effective and time saving, it also saves patients the pain in being transferred.
For elderly or immobile patients, treatment is given at the comfort of their homes. Using video conferencing, doctors can visit their patients electronically, check their reports and guide them for further treatment. Video conferencing helps patients in remote areas with nearest healthcare provider at quite a distance that can connect through a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device. Video conferencing can make checking ear canal, x-ray reports or virtually attending live surgeries, possible. This helps doctors to learn new technologies and attend complicated surgeries without investing time and money in travel. Patients can also be attended and surgeries could be watched later by recording the same.
Video conferencing helps doctors supervise medical procedures, train nurses or trainees and also record these sessions for future references. Specialised consultations from around the world at your own home have become possible without actually visiting the doctor’s place.
Video conferencing also reduces the need to hospitalise or re-hospitalise, which also reduces fear from patients’ minds. Newer employees could be given training on hospital culture and issues could be discussed and resolved soon. Timely and better care is provided using video conferencing.
Proper internet connectivity and high definition video quality are very much helpful and important in diagnosing and guiding patients further. This has improved in establishing better connectivity with the teams of doctors across the globe.
The lack of interaction between the patient and the doctor, or between doctor and doctor can create communication gap. The purpose of using video conferencing for lectures, or medical education is to reduce the geographical distance. Hence, the presenter has to present it in a way that involves more of participation than it just being a lecture. It has to be little different than the normal face to face lecture. Here, it is important that the learner is engaged and imparted proper effective training.
There are various ways in which one can get consultation from the experts, like, one of the ways is to record the patients’ details and test reports, X-rays, etc., and send it across to the experts.After the experts’ review and feedback, get the guidance on further line of treatment. In this method, the dependency on better bandwidth of internet and the local healthcare provider is high. The biggest disadvantage here is that one cannot get real time consultation in the hour of emergency, where every single minute counts.
The other method is to have a pre-fixed meeting between the consultant and the patient. Here again the setup cost could be high for the patient or high-speed internet could be unavailable in rural areas. Also, this method can also not be useful in case of emergency.
For real time consultancy a hospital or consultant has to be all the time prepared for such need of consultation any time. This means a dedicated setup has to be ready all the time. This again is very costly affair and it needs lots of investment.
The challenges of using video conferencing can be overcome by aligning the needs of healthcare and the arrangement available.
Due to improved medical technologies and doorstep medical services, the average lifespan and life expectancy has increased in past decades. Hence, there is an increased number of middle-aged population depending upon the latest medical technologies.
The biggest challenge of healthcare services is to reach the most difficult of the areas in the rural region. With increased number of population in rural area, the need for medical facilities is high. The only method to reach out to maximum population of rural region is the video conferencing technology. Even the medical practitioners in these regions feel frustrated that they are unfortunate to have updates on newer techniques in medicine and surgeries. The real time help from various experts, especially in chronic medical conditions, has made it little bit easier for them to deal with the situation. Timely diagnosis of even people of rural region helps them in better treatment.
Using video conferencing, people in rural areas can be educated on the need of sanitation and better hygiene conditions in their surroundings. This awareness of sanitation has helped to improve the health conditions of even undeserved regions.
Apart from all the benefits of using video conferencing, there is a risk involved in the reports being leaked. When important matters are discussed online, the security of information at stake. The past experience of older versions of video conferencing of few populations makes it difficult for them to trust the new version. The lack of proper infrastructure for video conferencing also appears as a hurdle in serving those undeserved population. Poor connectivity for video conferencing is another hurdle in the path of smooth video conferencing.
In a nutshell,video conferencing has improved medical techniques in rural areas, helped doctors in keeping their certifications up-to-date, and complicated surgeries could be attended live from any corner of the world. Apart from population of remote areas, elderly population has also benefited from video conferencing. This cost effective and time saving method has been widely embraced by healthcare industry in all terms.