Real Time Communications Featured Article

Advancements in Real Time Communications Improve Healthcare Delivery

May 26, 2015

It’s interesting to watch how fast technology can evolve and meet the needs of the business user, before the business user really knows how to solve a frustration. For instance, there are certain things we have become accustomed to over the years – we know that there are platforms that allow us to directly connect for real-time communications and we know that those platforms require a download or a plugin for everyone to get online.

While the added step may have been frustrating, today’s computers require us to do little more than click the commanded button and the rest is taken care of. If the application doesn’t launch correctly, however, we’re then kind of stuck. We know what’s supposed to happen; we just don’t know where to look to make a change if what actually happens doesn’t match. Wouldn’t it be better if we could take advantage of real-time communications without that complication?

This is especially true in the medical world where communicating in real-time affects the care and even the survival of an individual. This level of communication allows for the use of telemedicine. Mercy Virtual in St. Louis plans to leverage these capabilities with The Virtual Care Center, a 120,000 square-foot facility to support telehealth for patients. What does that mean, exactly? It means the use of things like WebRTC and Skype for Business to provide virtual care for patients.

A recent St. Louis on the Air post highlighted this new development and how the virtual patient-doctor interaction is changing the industry. So why is it needed in a metropolitan area where so many quality hospitals are already available? According to Dr. Tom Hale, executive director of Mercy Virtual, more than 60 percent of patients are in rural areas where specialists and primary care aren’t available. Telemedicine allows them to bring care to those communities. The virtual capability also reduces the cost of the visit for the patient and eliminates delays that tend to be common with primary care providers.

The use of real-time communications in any industry is becoming a must-have as delays in transmitting information hurt the competitive advantage. At the same time, customers have come to expect immediate service, immediate responses and immediate solutions. As such, WebRTC has introduced a way to allow for that streamlined approach and the elimination of unnecessary steps to get the job done.

With so many businesses jumping on board – what does that mean for the WebRTC market? Mainstream adoption is a sure thing and users will continue to raise the bar in terms of their expectations when it comes to performance. It could very well hurt other players in the market who are unable to deliver the same type of communication, while creating opportunity for those who can.

As for telemedicine – the adoption and advancements mean that those who have suffered in the past can gain access to the care they need. When technology evolution produces results like that, it’s hard not to get on board.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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