Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 13, 2013

Eldercare Facilities Getting on the Videoconferencing Bandwagon

Video conferencing is one of those technologies that keeps finding new applications. Initially adopted by businesses that wished to bring remote employees together to communicate face-to-face across distances, it has quickly spread to find other applications. Social media is one of the big boom areas for video conferencing, and education is also catching up, allowing professors to deliver college lectures to remote students.

The healthcare industry is another potential boom market for video conferencing, as hospitals and clinics seek to lower high healthcare costs. Physicians in the near future can begin offering consultations to home-based patients via videoconferencing and with the help of remote health monitoring devices.

As videoconferencing solutions get ever-easier to use – with the advent of WebRTC (Real Time Communications) there are no longer solutions to be downloaded in advance – it’s likely that the market for video will spread to other areas, as well.

Many nursing homes are beginning to see the potential of videoconferencing solutions, allowing elderly patients to connect more regularly with family members who may be too far away for regular personal visits. A recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News publication profiles a nursing home that has begun using videoconferencing as part of a holistic eldercare program.

Seniors who can interact more regularly with loved ones show better health outcomes and are at reduced risk for depression and anxiety. Up until recently, however, using videoconferencing solutions was often too complex a task for many seniors. Enter a service called EasyConnect HD, which is a customizable and easy to use solution specifically designed for convalescent or eldercare organizations.

“The technology, telyHD platform from Tely Labs, is relatively new to the market and is different from other systems in that it was designed specifically for the non-technically-minded user,” writes Jennifer Kessel for McKnight’s. “It is basically a small device that turns any HDTV into a video calling screen, and is controlled with a simple remote control. It incorporates everything you need for a video call, such as a microphone, audio, Wi-Fi and Skype.”

Kessel notes that it allows her facility’s residents to communicate either with other telyHD systems or with any Skype-enabled device, anywhere in the world.

The convalescent home/skilled nursing facility industry is often quite competitive. Adding easy-to-use videoconferencing systems into the mix of offerings to both attract business and keep the morale of residents high is likely to be worth the cost of such an investment.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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