As I said last November here on HealthBlog, “Let’s face it - telemedicine has been around almost as long as television itself”. I reminded you that telemedicine used to be technology that only the military, government agencies, and large academic medical centers could afford. The equipment was every bit as big and expensive as you might find in a traditional television studio. And, the distribution system was even more expensive requiring dedicated copper landlines or later, dedicated glass fiber or satellite connections.
With the dawn of the Internet and the availability of high speed broadband connectivity, telemedicine became not only more affordable but far more practical. Codecs improved to the point that delivering high quality voice and video over the Net have become commodity technologies built into just about every PC. But providing a telemedicine service is a bit more complicated than establishing a point to point audio-video connection between two parties. Ideally, you also need a communication and collaboration platform to organize and manage the connectivity.
That brings me to our summer “encore presentation” of Microsoft Health Tech Today with my special guest Ron Emerson, global director of healthcare for Polycom. On this program you’ll learn how, Microsoft and Polycom are defining a new generation of eHealth, telehealth and telemedicine solutions. By using Microsoft Lync, a communication and collaboration platform that brings together VOIP, messaging, e-mail, video and web conferencing all nicely integrated with the company’s information worker productivity solutions, Polycom is able to provide a seamless telemedicine experience. Polycom adds value to the platform with its dedicated clinical workstations with high definition audio and video capture capabilities. The units also connect to a myriad of diagnostic tools such as otoscopes, fundoscopes, stethoscopes, and other clinical devices. This creates an end to end telemedicine capability that leverages the best of each company’s technologies.
On the show, we demonstrate a coast to coast telemedicine session using Microsoft Lync, Polycom’s clinical workstation, and some of the diagnostic tools that one might typically need when examining a patient. You’ll be able to appreciate not only the ease by which this is done, but also the high quality of the diagnostic images and collaborative capabilities of the platform. It is really quite remarkable and definitely not your grandfather’s telemedicine.
You can watch the show right here on HealthBlog. Just click on the image below. Of course, you can continue to watch Health Tech Today on our landing page, as well as on Microsoft Showcase and on our YouTube channel if you prefer.
In the weeks ahead, I’ll be telling you about another encore edition of our series. Then, on September 7th, we’ll be releasing brand new shows of Health Tech Today - the on-line, on-demand video series at the intersection of health and information technology.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft