Telemedicine – AV technology in healthcare
According to Medicare.gov, telemedicine (which may also be referred to as tele-health, e-health or virtual healthcare) “seeks to improve a patient’s health by permitting two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site. This electronic communication means the use of interactive telecommunications equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment.”
LightWerks Communication Systems has been busy getting to know the varying technologies being applied to telemedicine, which are mainly long-trusted AV solutions that have been modified/adapted to best suit physicians and their staff in providing medical treatment. Some of these products include:
These mobile AV carts provide a hub for a secure, integrated telemedicine encounter, anywhere that visit takes place: in a medical clinic or hospital, at a remote site, at a patient’s home, in the workplace, school-based or correctional environment. Telemedicine devices such as a microphone, visual display, hearing impaired communication keyboard, and a computer with diagnosis software all have a role in these intricate carts. The station version, which is usually stationary instead of a mobile cart, can be a wall mounted screen with multiple devices secured to and working interactively with it. This solution supports physicians in diagnosing symptoms and consulting patients remotely anywhere they may be, and is great for small spaces such as a remote physician’s home office.
Capturing high-quality live video and still imagery are essential components of an effective telemedicine program. Exam cameras are high definition, optical zoom compatible and some digital versions are capable of zooming in up to 120x the standard view. An adjustable arm that rotates makes it easy for the physician to see exactly what’s going on with the patient on a clear, high resolution display.
Revolutionary ophthalmoscopes address the fundamental challenge in remote ophthalmoscopy – to get a good view of the entire eye and remotely share those images to make an assessment. The optics make it easy to enter non-dilated pupils with a 25-degree field of view that is 5X greater than a standard ophthalmascope. The camera attachment captures 8MP images up to 30 frames per second. The wider field of view allows a practitioner to more easily observe conditions such as hypertension, diabetic retinopathy and papilledema.
Bluetooth EEG devices
On a daily basis, thousands of patients in emergency departments and ICU’s suffer from conditions that indicate for an intermediate EEG: seizures, coma, and altered states of consciousness. Due to the complexity of the set-up, cost, and unavailability of expert readers only a small fraction will receive a timely EEG. Streaming data wirelessly, a Bluetooth headset seamlessly transmits the EEG data to any Windows™ based laptop or tablet PC eliminating cables and clutter from the patient care arena. EEG data is immediately available for review via the cloud and EEG reader is notified via text that a file is ready.
Streaming stethoscopes provide a very simple, software-based way to transmit heart, breath and bowel sounds in real time. The software can be used independently or in conjunction with videoconferencing to allow for versatility. This technology uses a chest piece on the transmitting side and high quality headphones on the receiving side. The receiving side will be able to connect the call and, once connected, adjust the frequency filter to ensure the correct range is being emphasized. The receiving side will also be able to record transmissions and can be used simultaneously with video for a more in-person interaction. It’s as easy as plugging in the chest piece and headphones into the computer, launching the software, selecting a site from a drop down menu, and clicking connect.
When you can’t assess a patient in person, digital medical devices can help you gather vitals, monitor progress, view ultrasounds, hear heart and lung sounds and capture images of skin, ears, eyes and other areas. Digital devices such as these take telemedicine a step further in that they easily enable more patient details to be saved in EMRs (electronic medical records).
There are hundreds more devices on the market to deliver safe and reliable telemedicine services, these devices were just a handful of the impressive options available. LightWerks would work with a hospital, remote clinic or adult care facility to either integrate their current AV systems to their incoming telemedicine technology, or install the latest systems that would be compatible with the telemedicine types they plan to use in the near future.
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