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March 04, 2011

Conference Calls Aren't Just for Businessmen: MDs, Nurses and Patients Benefit Too

By Jaclyn Allard, TMCnet Web Editor

The HIMSS 2011 conference held from Feb. 20 – 24 provided a platform for people, potential and progress, as attendees collaborated in an effort to put the patient first. Healthcare professionals discussed healthcare transformation through IT and its meaningful use, including the role of such technologies as IVR messaging and teleconferencing. The healthcare industry has three major drivers for its on-going evolution: innovation, regulation, and technology.

In a recent interview with Larry Dorie, CEO of RHUB (News - Alert), a real-time collaboration appliances provider, I asked him what industries he felt benefited from a conferencing solution. Dorie mentioned that one of the industries that could easily benefit from a conferencing solution would be the healthcare industry. But as he emphasized, “Internet security issues are on-going. Slowly, but surely, people come to realize that they have to pay attention to security, and the more that they do, the more they are going to want, in some cases, a secure solution. Like two doctors collaborating and looking at patient data.”

American Well, a developer of telehealth technology, shares the same idea about the importance of conferencing in the healthcare industry, with a similar strong emphasis on security. American Well’s Online Care Suite is the first solution to connect patients and doctors in real-time via the Web or phone in order to conduct a live, immediate online consultation or rather a virtual house call. American Well’s Online Care Suite is not to be confused with Skype (News - Alert), which connects any two or more people in a Web conference call. To ensure the private patient data content transferred verbally, visually, and via electronic health records is secure, American Well has partnered with IBM (News - Alert) to further embed security in the Online Care system, safeguarding patient information collected during the virtual conferencing consultations.

Technological tools are becoming more powerful, easy-to-use, less expensive, and more secure, helping health professionals deliver quality patient care in a new way. The advancement in voice, data, and video communications is greatly impacting the way healthcare organizations operate and provide effective and efficient care.

As Praful Shah, VP of Corporate Development at EagleTeleconferencing, wrote in an article, “EagleTeleconferencing has been supporting the healthcare industry by providing customer-centric solutions…. It believes that real-time connectivity among doctors, nurses, patients, insurance service providers, administrators, healthcare facility providers, and all other associated staff is vital and must be cost-effective. On many occasions, it is not possible for all parties to be physically together, but still need to be connected on-demand to transfer and receive information.”

Service providers such as EagleTeleconferencing, offering a solution with cost-effective and secure conference call technology, are helping organizations and healthcare facilities stay connected no matter where employees or patients are located.

Jaclyn Allard is a TMCnet Web Editor. She most recently worked on the production team at Juran Institute, a quality consulting firm producing its own training and marketing materials. Previously, she interned at Curbstone Press, a nonprofit publishing press in Willimantic, CT, and fulfilled the role of Editor-in-Chief for the literature and arts journal published by the University of Connecticut. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

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