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October 22, 2010

Adoption of Videoconferencing Applications Benefits Health Practitioners, Says Frost & Sullivan

By Deepika Mala, TMCnet Contributor


The technological advancements in the world of videoconferencing have brought about several changes in the practice of telemedicine. For providing enhanced access to healthcare as well as improving the quality of such services at lower prices across the globe, the health practitioners are increasingly adopting interactive video or videoconferencing applications.

A recent analysis of Frost & Sullivan on “Visual Collaboration Applications in Healthcare” shows that reduced prices and improved quality are boosting the adoption of telemedicine videoconferencing systems.

“The costs of telemedicinevideoconferencing systems and transmission service are not a major barrier to their deployments anymore,” said Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) Research Analyst Iwona Petruczynik, in a press release. “In the last two years, there has been a significant reduction in prices of equipment and a substantial improvement in endpoint functionality, especially video quality.”

By offering “off-the-shelf” videoconferencing products, visual collaboration vendors can make an entry in the healthcare market. These are cost-effective and easier to use options for healthcare professionals, as they are not purchasing dedicated carts, but standard videoconferencing systems.

“This will represent a ‘foot in the door’ for visual collaboration manufacturers because they are not only familiarizing healthcare professionals with videoconferencing, but also introducing their dedicated pieces of equipment,” remarked Petruczynik, in a statement. “Visual collaboration vendors need to add value to certain vertical markets to avoid commoditization in the increasingly competitive marketplace.”

The ability to extend the geographic reach of medical care and provide access to medical specialists in remote and rural areas is one of the most significant benefits of telemedicine. Training and educational benefits to medical professionals at reduced costs are also offered by Telemedicine technology. However, restrictive reimbursements and legislative policies are limiting the reach of existing telemedicine programs.

“There are also other obstacles to use of telemedicine technologies like resistance from traditional healthcare facilities that are unfamiliar with new technologies,” said Petruczynik, in a statement. “In addition, many potential adopters of telemedicine are witnessing objections from their medical staff that fears that they will be replaced by new and more efficient practices brought by telemedicine programmes.”

Concerns related to the integration of telemedicine with electronic medical records and resolving system interoperability issues also exist on the technology side. Moreover, to coordinate remote care, as well as cope with legal liability, accreditation and licensing issues, medical staff will have to be trained.

“Once these obstacles are overcome, there exists sizeable potential for growth,” stated Petruczynik. “Enabling a significant level of customization in the solutions for healthcare institutions will determine the success of videoconferencing in the telemedicine environment in future.”

In related news, Radvision (News - Alert), a technology and end-to-end solution provider for unified visual communications including video network infrastructure, developer tools and high definition room, desktop and mobile video conferencing systems, has won the 2010 Frost & Sullivan Latin America Competitive Strategy Leadership Award.


Deepika Mala is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf




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