Being able to participate at an American Telemedicine Association event in Austin, Texas has been a true highlight of 2013. The conference and its attendees were a-buzz with more remote monitoring devices than I knew existed, infinite possibilities to provide “care anywhere,” and a fantastic array of new connections in this growing facet of our industry. Thought-provoking conversations centered on convergence of healthcare and ICT, needs and opportunities for telehealth stakeholders, and telehealth’s impact on treatment and prevention.
A common theme throughout the event was the current state of the industry and how connected health solutions are creating pathways to transform healthcare. This includes things such as workflow optimization, provider and patient engagement, and new application opportunities in the field of care. Telehealth has the power to impact both treatment and prevention in healthcare, which is crucial to shifting the burden of healthcare costs down, and the ability to improve outcomes.
During the event, I was privileged to take part in a Market Watch panel, “Not All Telehealth Markets are Equal,” hosted by Frost & Sullivan. This panel consisted of representatives from companies focused on remote monitoring, video telemedicine, mHealth, and home healthcare. We discussed key differences and similarities between these top market verticals concerning challenges, business models, and future growth.
Each of the panelists were asked several questions:
What are the most innovative or transformative use examples of telehealth solutions you are seeing live in practice, which can impact change and outcomes?
What restraints and challenges are people facing out in the market now especially in terms of realizing revenue growth and potential for telehealth solutions? Why will the future be different from the past?
What are some best practices you have seen in getting patients engaged with mobile and telehealth solutions and actually driving behavioral change?
Would you agree with our (Frost & Sullivan) view of the importance of video telemedicine in leading markets in telehealth, and what realized uptake is being seen in practice currently and what other factors are important to make this work?
Innovative telehealth use
There is a great deal of innovative telehealth use, but one example I shared involved doctors recording patients’ visits (using Show ‘n Share) and sending a link of the recording to the patients after the fact so they can easily watch it again, and share with family and friends. This represents an innovative and different use of telehealth technology – it supports patients who are likely inundated with information during their visit and allows them to relive their consult remotely.
Restraints and challenges
Telehealth now encompasses so many different channels patients want to use to interact with their healthcare system – telephone, mobile, social, email, text, web chat, etc. This means health care providers and payers must invest in the proper operational infrastructure to support these consumer connection expectations. I gave the example of a patient with an illness, who wants to talk to a doctor remotely, and expects to be “seen” within 15 minutes. A payer or provider cannot expect to deliver that specific level of service unless they have a centralized infrastructure that is dedicated to operations. In order for this to be scalable, health systems will have to invest in elements such as contact center, unified communications, secure wireless infrastructures, and endpoints with solutions like Jabber and WebEx. These are just examples of some solutions that can be deployed in order to make telehealth work seamlessly to provide patients with the best remote care experience possible.
Many panelists discussed gamification and how it is becoming a tool to engage consumers, as it ties to human nature, competitiveness and camaraderie. I discussed this from my personal standpoint. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy that healthcare should deploy more because many health systems are being asked to think and act more like retailers in-nature. Healthcare systems need to take a page from companies who have to know their customers well and respond. This requires a strategic shift in how they approach and interact with patients and families, creating an infrastructure that would allow patients and family members or loved ones to communicate and interact with their care professionals via the communication method they choose. A sophisticated CRM strategy and eco-system is necessary to manage this.
Importance of video telemedicine
To drive home the importance of video in telehealth and the need for more efficiency in healthcare, I highlighted the model for primary care. I noted that primary care itself could be more remote and centralized at the same time. This could be a market differentiator for the health systems that deploy such a model, because the cost structure would be significantly reduced. A key technology component that supports this is a call manager feature combined with remote video technology that looks at hundreds of doctors to determine who may be available at any given time. As telehealth and telemedicine technology begins to grow and be widely adopted, this will be even more important. In order for it to scale and cross organization boundaries, it must be interoperable with different devices and endpoints and be able to connect in any way possible.
One thing is for sure; telehealth cannot exist without the support and adoption of the clinical community. The only way to ensure successful adoption of new technology is hand-in-hand implementation that’s tailored to the desired clinical workflow and to ensure that clinicians are championing it across the organization.
We launched the Cisco Partner Ambassador program last year, to provide a range of partners with the opportunity to share their thoughts and impressions from Partner Summit. This year, we’re excited to announce that the program not only will continue, but also has been expanded, with a fuller representation of the global Cisco channel community confirmed to participate, including partners who will be joining us primarily through Virtual Partner Summit.
Each of our Partner Ambassadors will be blogging, tweeting, and sharing content via Facebook and LinkedIn, before, during, and after Partner Summit. We’re excited to hear the perspectives they have, and look forward to sharing their content with all of you, too. Follow along throughout the event – don’t forget #ciscops13 for Tweets — and feel free to offer your feedback. For reference, we have created a Twitter list of all of our Ambassadors’ Twitter handles.
Let’s meet our 10 Ambassadors for Partner Summit 2013. I asked each to share a little about their specialties and where they focus in the Cisco ecosystem, so what follows is each partner’s description and where to find their social content throughout the event. Read More »
Earlier this year, CNN reported that the U.S. jobless rate fell to its lowest level since 2008. Positive job growth—and having the talent to fulfill these job openings—is great news for employers, jobseekers, and the economy as a whole.
As the academic year comes to an end, college graduates around the world are getting ready to join that talent pool. This new generation of workers comes from an environment and lifestyle unlike that of their seniors, and they bring assets that are unfamiliar to more seasoned employees.
Let me elaborate for those of us born before 1980. When I joined the workforce some decades ago, faxing, mailing, and wired phones were everyday business staples. Today, each of us has at least one mobile device on hand. (I have three: my cell phone, iPad, and laptop.) And with those devices comes a shift in the ways we connect and communicate, at work and elsewhere. But many of us remember the time when we worked without these devices.
Millennials don’t have that memory. Coming of age in a mobile world makes their views fresh and their needs unique. Every time we bring a new, next-generation hire on board, I wonder, “What can they teach me?” This is the generation that will inherit the economy when we retire. By cross-mentoring each other, we all can do a better job of preparing for that future.
At Cisco, we are starting to see more and more of our customers adapting to accommodate the needs of their connected employees, both young and experienced. We’re seeing them laying the groundwork to encourage increased mobility in the workforce, with collaboration technologies and programs like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) at the office. With BYOD and mobile technology becoming increasingly pervasive in the workplace, collaboration becomes more accessible, and productivity and efficiency improve. And as employees start enjoying the flexibility of working from anywhere, morale reaches a new high.
Connecting your workforce—whether it is multigenerational, multinational, or multilingual—and enabling the Internet of Everything, allows employers to bring together people, processes, data, and things. While first-time workers may lack the experience of their more seasoned coworkers, they’ll flourish more quickly if their need to be connected is fulfilled. As the pace of business continues to increase, it is imperative for executives to act now to make sure that collaboration technology is readily available, to attract Millennials and to engage employees of all generations.
My two biggest pieces of advice for companies looking to hire from this next generation are these: First, leverage their always-connected lifestyle as an advantage to your business objectives—not as a setback. The way they play is also the way they work. Because of technology advancements, it is now completely viable for us to deliver the infrastructure for this lifestyle in the workplace. Second, encourage your entire workforce to participate in a knowledge exchange, wherein Millennials share tech know-how and senior workers share business acumen.
There is an amazing synergy going on that results from the new generation’s approach to work, the seasoned experience of older workers, and today’s mobile, collaborative technologies and architectures—and this synergy amounts to a big win for everyone.
This is the first in a two-part blog series that examines the opportunities that cloud-based services offer to law enforcement agencies—along with the challenges of this fundamental shift in the way information resources are managed.
Police forces have a well-established culture of owning and managing systems directly founded on concerns about security and control of access to information. Three trends, however, make this position unsustainable:
Traditional models for acquiring and running systems, which slow the pace of innovation
Pressure to reduce costs
Increasing need to form partnerships with other police agencies, public-sector bodies, and the private sector. Partnership depends on information sharing and open approaches to developing systems.
One of the most radical—and successful—cloud-based public-safety and security services is Facewatch. Using a network-based model, Facewatch provides an online reporting tool that allows U.K. businesses and citizens to report crimes and attach video evidence. The service enables crime victims to cancel credit cards instantly through Facewatch’s partners; allows users to share images of wanted people; and provides a channel for feedback from the police on the outcomes of cases.
Facewatch offers immediate benefits to the public, businesses, and law enforcement:
Citizens: ease of reporting and rapid management of associated processes
Businesses: less time required to deal with incidents
Law enforcement: reduces or eliminates the need to interact directly with premises to recover video footage
For all users, there is greater transparency about processes and reporting on outcomes, as well as the ability for communities to share information about wanted persons and crime trends.
I was in the grocery store when I realized that something new was going on: our entrance into the era of computing that I call convergence — the convergence of man and machine – is already changing the face of collaboration.
In the recent past, collaboration did a great job of connecting people to people through video, voice and the virtual workspace, which improved productivity and the intimacy of connection. A video chat, whether for business or pleasure, communicates more than a simple phone call. Add a collective workspace and you’re off like a rocket. In this collaboration between people, the technology served as a conduit.
But now I’m sensing the beginning of something different: collaborating with the machine itself. Here’s an example: I’m pretty focused on maintaining my health and my weight so when I go to the grocery store, I have a health app that’s connected to my online health profile and running with augmented reality. When I show my phone my choice of broccoli, it votes thumbs up; when I grab my favorite cookies, it displays the calories and cholesterol they will add to my daily intake, notes that it’s contrary to medication I’m on, and advises me against it. (Of course when I get to the beer aisle, I over-ride its displeasure: this is collaborative, after all, not dictatorial!)