On October 30, 1990, President George H.W. Bush established March 30 as National Doctors’ Day, officially recognizing the important role medical doctors play in our society. At LifeSize, we’d like to pay respect to the many ways doctors positively impact our lives – particularly those who are using video conferencing technology to expand and improve the quality and availability of medical care, both in this country and internationally.
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Here’s a look at some of the physicians, mental health professionals and healthcare organizations who are using video conferencing to make a difference in the lives of their patients.
North Country HealthCare is the only publicly-supported healthcare center operating in the Northern Arizona area, and with 14 locations serving 13 different communities, they provide some much-needed care in an historically underserved region. Many of NCHC’s prospective clients and patients live in low-income rural communities, and in the past, the lack of doctors willing to live in these small, far-flung towns meant residents were unable to receive the care they deserved.
Given the particular set of challenges NCHC healthcare providers face, it’s not surprising that they were also early adopters of video conferencing technology, which they deploy both in offices (so patients can meet with specialists remotely) and also in their mobile clinic, an RV that makes stops at area schools and businesses. By embracing advances in telemedicine technology, NCHC is able to provide some much-needed care in an area that was, up until very recently, one of the most underserved parts of the country.
The Live International Otolaryngology Network (LION) Foundation has found another way to use video conferencing to help patients. Rather than using the technology to conduct appointments, the LION Foundation hosts distance learning seminars and classes, designed to keep otolaryngologists (also known as Ear, Nose & Throat specialists) on the cutting edge of their field. The foundation even broadcasts live surgery demonstrations, ensuring that otolaryngologists around the world are well-equipped when it comes to caring for their patients’ needs.
Like North County HealthCare, Premier Psych operates in a very rural part of the country, one in which physical visits to the doctor are limited by the distances involved – in this case, Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa. As the name suggests, Premier Psych focuses on mental health issues, a field in which quality of communication is paramount. Premier adopted video conferencing technology in order to accurately replicate the experience of a face-to-face conversation, something that is of utmost importance both for patients and for their mental healthcare providers, whose ability to diagnose and treat them is contingent on the in-person experience.
In the United Kingdom, where healthcare services have been nationalized since 1948, healthcare providers are keenly aware of the importance of keeping down the cost to the taxpayer. That’s why the North Bristol NHS Trust – which oversees healthcare and hospital services in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Cornwall, and employs 9,000 people to do so – was quick to adopt and implement video conferencing services, not just to meet with patients remotely, but to handle the workload associated with such a large organization as well. Thanks to their ability to conduct staff meetings and doctor’s appointments remotely, North Bristol NHS Trust executives estimate they’re able to save £9,500 a month in travel expenses alone – that’s the equivalent of around $190,000 a year.
North Country HealthCare, Premier Psych, LION Foundation and North Bristol NHS Trust are just a few of the healthcare providers who are embracing technology to better serve their communities and their patients. We’d like to take this moment to say thank you again to all the men and women who have dedicated their lives to healing others, and who help ensure our high qualities of life.
Thank you from LifeSize!