Real Time Communications Featured Article

Real-Time Communications Can Help Spur Creativity Among World's Healthcare Providers

February 25, 2015

As world population grows and (in many parts of the world) it ages, healthcare is expected to undergo a seismic shift in the coming years, mostly thanks to technology. In the U.S., escalating healthcare costs are forcing a change in how we think about the delivery of care. While not everyone has a general practitioner or specialist living on the block – or they simply can’t afford to get out of work to see one – nearly everyone has a mobile device, and not every treatable health symptom requires a face-to-face meeting between health care workers and patients.

Telemedicine is an industry that is already blooming worldwide, but in the coming years, it’s expected to become a very big deal. It also happens at the high end – long-distance consults between specialists located in different parts of the world – but increasingly, it’s expected to show up at the small end. This might involve a blue-collar worker connecting with a physician assistant employed by a local pharmacy chain over a video chat on a mobile app during his or her lunch break. The PA can listen to the symptoms of (for example) a sinus infection, have the patient palpate his or her own face and forehead to find pain points and approve a prescription for antibiotics that they can pick up on the commute home.

To work, real telemedicine programs will need to involve a number of technologies, including remote bio-monitoring (patients taking their own pulse or blood pressure, or transmitting the metrics from a worn or implanted device), file transfer technologies and a broad array of real-time communications technologies including Web chat, text chat, audio and video, GENBAND’s Christopher Vitek noted in a recent blog post.  Specifically, the real-time communications standard WebRTC comes to mind.

“Interestingly, WebRTC is the only non-proprietary, real-time communications technology that can bridge the gap between human interaction and machine-based biometric analytics,” wrote Vitek. “In the past, mobile communications solutions were wedded to individual service provider and they always came with the restrictions that were imposed by proprietary technology.  WebRTC is breaking the mold on this and dramatically reducing the financial barriers to creating integrated solutions that change the way that healthcare services are delivered.”

By skipping the need to download an application or get set-up with one party’s proprietary technology to engage in real-time voice and video communications, WebRTC can help bridge the gap that currently exists in telemedicine between patients, care workers, physicians, labs, pharmacies and other parties.

This will be particularly valuable in parts of the world where healthcare is scarce, outcomes are currently poor and technology other than a simple mobile phone is non-existent.

Image via Shutterstock.

Real-time communications can help take the pressure off the healthcare industry and enable it to service more people more efficiently. Vitek aslso notes that WebRTC can help spur creativity among healthcare providers.

“This creativity is driving the creation of solutions and partnerships that are practical and cost effective.  Web Real-Time Communications is at the center of this story and it is gaining momentum every day,” he said.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Article comments powered by Disqus

  Subscribe here for RTCW eNews