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Video Is Going Viral, Especially In Healthcare!

October 10, 2016 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Stephen Leaden / UCStrategies


Many of us have been "waiting" for video to go really mainstream for several decades now. Videoconferencing systems have become a common occurrence for most enterprises, especially in larger conference room areas. But a movement is now taking place in the world of video conferencing and video is now going mainstream and even viral. There are several drivers taking place in the midst of us that is creating a perfect storm for video.

Market Growth

Video market growth is significant and expected to surge:

  • A $6.40 billion market by 2020 (according to Transparency Market Research)
  • Was $3.3 billion in 2015, with 24% growth rate in third quarter compared to first quarter according to Infonetics

To quote a few resources regarding video and video growth:

  • Infonetics: There has been a rise in cloud multipoint conferencing unit services adoption, which has led to a decline in infrastructure sales.
  • IDC: "The video conferencing market is going through a significant transformation due to virtualization, software-centric solutions and real-time browser-based communications. Many of these pressures are expected to drive an emphasis on cloud-based video solutions."
  • Petr Jirovsky, senior research analyst for Worldwide Networking Trackers Research: "many enterprises see video as a 'key component of UC&C.'"
  • Deborah Jeffries, director of global Healthcare marketing at Polycom: "With collaborative video solutions, you can address access, prevention and wellness, and continuation of care, all of which becomes important as we try to tackle the problem of unnecessary rehospitalizations."

Video Drivers

There are several drivers that are moving video and video conferencing into "center stage," including:

  • Consumerization for Video Is Here - Many consumers have been using face-to-face video for some time. With applications such as Apple's FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Skype, one-on-one video is a common occurrence in the world of the consumer.
  • Video Apps Are Now Cross Platform - One example, Zoom, offers their multi-user applications (up to 50 users in one session in the cloud) across Windows, iOS, and Android.
  • Video Is The Next Evolution for UC Going Mainstream - Until recently, basic UC applications have gained ground and less so for others. Those already in use to some or large degree include Unified Messaging, LDAP directory services, presence, and IM/chat. Video is the next logical extension as UC is adopted mainstream.
  • Video Typically Uses Non-Proprietary Open Standards - Most Video Conferencing uses non-proprietary standards (SIP and H.323) and CODECs (H.264, H.265) and are therefore, on the most part, open. Some of course provide a better video experience using their own proprietary protocol and CODEC.
  • Video Has Gone To The "Cloud" - Major providers including Cisco, Polycom, Vidyo, and Lifesize provide a cloud-centric solution, which includes video bridging and a non-capital solution, pay-as-you go platform (certain minimums typically apply.
  • Video Is the Next "Extension" of Conferencing - Conferencing services are now a staple of our culture (domestically and internally), which now include collaborative screen share and PowerPoint sessions. For a more immersive experience, adding video becomes the next logical step in utilizing such services. Many video platforms now include presence, IM/chat and directory services inclusive of their offering.
  • Video Over SIP Trunking - Is starting to be released in select areas by select carriers as a next gen carrier network alternative to public Internet.

A Critical New Video Application - Healthcare

One extremely exciting application for video is Telemedicine, a broad category of video-enabled Healthcare video applications. These applications include, but are not limited to:

  • Patient physician consultations
  • Patient kiosks
  • Remote patient diagnostics
  • Remote surgical consult
  • Telestroke and telneurology
  • Behavioral health
  • Tele-home care and home health care
  • Patient-family member interaction and collaboration
  • Geriatric home health care
  • Continued Nursing and Medical Education
  • Triage & Disaster Response
  • Chronic Disease Management

In addition, recent legislation by Medicare / Medicaid is leveraging the power of video for Telemedicine applicator follow-up appointments with patients. Recent legislation in New York (Jan 1, 2016), an amendment facilitates sweeping changes to Telemedicine coverage under New York Medicaid and private health insurance. Providers who develop practical Telemedicine models that favor the patient will have an advantage and be in "front of the pack" as new legislation for Telemedicine continues to be approved nationally. Note that:

  • Eligible telehealth providers include physicians, physician assistants, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, diabetes educators, genetic counselors, and a variety of other professionals.
  • Telehealth services include the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management and/or self-management of a patient via a remote video application.
  • As patients gain familiarity with this video technology and the video experience is strong, demand for Telemedicine will increase and will expand Telemedicine with both private and government payers. Some health insurers view Telemedicine as a form of improving the patient experience and thus add value. Medicare and Medicaid will continue to expand Telemedicine and applications.
  • In 2015-2016, and according to a study by the Center for Connected Health Policy, greater than 200 laws and acts for Telemedicine-related legislation were introduced in 42 states. In addition, 29 states now require that health plans cover Telemedicine services. We see this trend continuing. The key is that video via Telemedicine is not just being driven by consumer or business interest or expansion of UC technologies. In this case Telemedicine video is being driven by legislation at the state and federal levels.

So Why Telemedicine and Video?

We already know that legislation is being passed for Telemedicine video applications at an unprecedented rate. The Healthcare field is going through a major disruption of new legislation, new Healthcare rules, HCAP scores and "ratings" in the public venue, mergers and acquisitions, and federal reimbursements tied to provider performance, the Healthcare industry is in a huge transition. Here are the key drivers, in my opinion, driving Telemedicine forward:

  • Telemedicine Reimbursements - Reimbursements from state and federal agencies are expanding the opportunity and need to Telemedicine video applications
  • Patients, Customers Are Asking For It - And it is convenient for the patient. Patients do not have to leave the comfort of their homes for remote applications and reduced travel time to the provider's facility.
  • Consumerization Acceptance of Video (Facetime, Skype) - Again, now enters the Healthcare field.
  • Excellent Additional Revenue Opportunities - We estimate that our clients in Healthcare can improve on number of patients seen in a given day leveraging Telemedicine by 15-20%.
  • Video Via Video Conferencing or Contact Center - Will vary by providers and their strategy for deploying Telemedicine applications. In our experience many of our clients are looking to leverage a Contact Center experience based on SLAs measured, and Contact Center tools such as call recording, screen scrapes, speech analytics, and reporting for better staffing models. This, of course, depends on the applications providers are seeking to implement for Telemedicine.
  • HIPAA Privacy Rules Apply - Any video application in the Healthcare space needs to be HIPAA compliant and keep patient information confidential. Any provider must consider whether the delivery model is premise-based or cloud-based. To date, few video cloud solution providers are HIPAA compliant, and most Telemedicine applications to date are thus premise-based.
  • Significant ROI Opportunities for Healthcare - Significant ROI opportunities are available in Healthcare and Telemedicine, especially in the Contact Center. Those looking towards Telemedicine in the Contact Center can also experience the following:
  1. Optimization, Centralization in the Contact Center - and managing staffing levels accordingly, full-time and part-time
  2. Real Estate improvements - by optimizing staffing levels
  3. Managing Contact Center licensing - based on optimizations
  4. Patient loss improvement - history shows that a percent of abandoned calls will go elsewhere. For Healthcare providers, possible revenue loss for patients going elsewhere is valued in the millions annually. For one client recently an evaluation of three of the departments indicated a possible patient loss exceeded $4M annually

  • Next-Gen Customer Service - Telemedicine, if done right, is a form of Next-Gen customer service
  • Differentiation - Healthcare providers must differentiate and the "old school" patient is forever threatened by patients becoming consumers/customers, and having the right to "go shopping" if the patient experience/customer experience is not what they expect

Summary and Conclusions

The Healthcare industry is going through dramatic changes, and will be for at least the next 36 months and more. I recently spoke at a conference entitled, "Disruption Is The New Normal In Healthcare." It's true, not only is video ready for the consumer, the technology is ready, and now new legislation will force the video industry to grow significantly in the Healthcare space.

If you are a Healthcare provider, not considering Telemedicine is a BIG mistake and you will eventually fall behind your competitors, and you will miss an incredible opportunity to expand on patient services and significant revenue opportunities, where every revenue dollar now counts. If you are a video solutions provider, the opportunity can dramatically expand your business and the customers you serve almost overnight.

This is an exciting time to be affiliated and involved in Healthcare.

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