On a recent visit to my doctor’s office, I observed something that I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to in the past: When a nurse called the next patient back for her appointment, a young girl also stood up and explained that her mother didn’t speak English well and asked to accompany her to interpret.
I live right outside of Washington, D.C., which is fortunately a culturally diverse area so I am used to hearing different languages on a day-to-day basis. I guess I never really considered the impact of not speaking English when it comes to seeking medical care. Luckily, the example above, seemed like a routine office visit, but it got me thinking about what would happen in an emergency situation where seconds count.
Paras and Associates know this scenario all too well as they provide real-time language interpreters for healthcare environments using video collaboration. PAA’s service ensures that patients anywhere in the country, who speak any language, can gain access to high quality medical interpretation in an instant. Video communications has played a significant role in their practice and has significantly reduced “lost in translation” errors by allowing doctor, patient and interpreter to see each other’s faces. The power of video overcomes language barriers that can often be misinterpreted over the phone … and herein lies my passion.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Melinda Paras, PAA’s president and CEO. Melinda is a veteran of the medical industry and saw a need to deliver a better “business outcome” to patients and medical staff. In this case, the business outcome could mean the difference between life and death.
In business, clear and rapid communication is always important, but it’s most important in healthcare, where saving minutes or even seconds can make all the difference. A growing number of healthcare organizations are adopting video conferencing to improve communications both internally and with patients. The potential benefits are huge.
Internal video conferencing and telepresence technology can help healthcare organizations better manage rapidly escalating costs, accelerate innovation, deliver high-quality care, and maximize the use of skilled resources. Doctor-patient videoconferencing has the potential to broaden access to healthcare, add convenience, and lower costs, according to a recent InformationWeek article examining the results of its 2013 Healthcare IT Priorities survey. (The survey found that 28% of respondents are already using some form of doctor-patient video communication.)
I often get asked by customers and partners what it takes to create an activity-based workplace – one that gets employees out of assigned cubicles and gives them a variety of spaces to use based on what they need to do and who they need to connect with throughout the day.
There’s no doubt that the physical environment in which we work is important. Spaces that are clean, well-lit, and attractive can go a long way towards fostering productivity, positive attitudes, and teamwork. But configuring your physical space is just one part of the overall solution.
Embedding collaboration technology into your space design is critical to the success of any workplace transformation effort. Employees need seamless, uninterrupted access to the information they need to get their jobs done. And the tools they use must be as intuitive as their own personal devices.
By “intuitive,” I mean being able to:
Make and receive calls on any device, whether it’s a desk phone, laptop, mobile phone or tablet
Access email and corporate intranet anywhere on campus – wirelessly and securely
Find people in your organization, check availability, and connect using instant messaging, voice, video, desktop sharing, or conferencing
Engage in real-time, face-to-face collaboration and team building sessions – both planned and spontaneous – with colleagues around the globe
These are the ways in which workplace transformation can improve productivity Read More »
As I visit customers and partners around the world, I see that many of you are excited about the idea of “workplace transformation.” The reason is clear: workplace-related costs are usually among a company’s top three expense items. Optimizing these assets and ensuring that they support the needs of the business is – or should be – a top priority.
Where we work is becoming more mobile, more flexible, and more collaborative than ever. This has made the traditional cubicle-based workplace – with its overbooked meeting rooms and rows of assigned cubicles sitting empty—obsolete. According to CoreNet Global, around 60% of a company’s desks are vacant at one time because workers are either on the road or in meetings.1 Creating what we call an “activity-based workplace” will help you keep up with evolving work practices, improve employee engagement, and build for the workforce of the future. It will also help you use your physical space more efficiently.
An activity-based workplace unshackles your employees from their desks and gives them a variety of work spaces to use based on the activities they need perform at a given time. This could be a typical workstation, an individual quiet room, a small team huddle space, an audio privacy room, a Telepresence room, or an open project area. Whatever the choice, they’ll have seamless access to the tools they need to get their jobs done. Any desk phone becomes “their” phone, and pervasive and secure wireless enables access to the corporate internet, email, calendars, and collaboration solutions such as IM and presence, web, and video conferencing.
Wall Street Journal writer Sue Shellenbarger makes some great points in her recent article “Surviving the Conference Call.” She points out many of the downsides of not collaborating in person — people multitasking during calls, bad audio, the inability to build rapport.
I remember those days well. For me, they’re in the past because I use video on nearly every call I make, whether it’s a group conference call or a 1:1 conversation with a co-worker.
Shellenbarger reports that about 65% of all conferencing is still done via audio calls, according to Wainhouse Research. To some, video may seem like the future, but it’s really available and affordable here and now. It’s moving from an executive-only tool to something available to everyone.
At first I was surprised that Wainhouse predicts time spent in audio conferences in the U.S. will continue to grow 9.6% a year through 2017. But in context, it’s pretty slow growth compared to predictions for video conferencing (check out Figure 14).
True, video is a new concept for many of us. Just the idea of being heard and seen is a hurdle for some people. I used to hide from cameras at parties and now I use one throughout the day. The benefits quickly outweighed any awkwardness. I found right away that the ability to have eye contact with people and see their physical reactions during a conversation makes a significant difference in the communication. Read More »