With populations around the world growing and aging, companies working in the healthcare sector face significant challenges.
Emphasis is being placed on wellness care, which if managed correctly, can reduce the number of crisis events and improve the overall health of a population.
However, with an average of 77% of people aged 24-54 spending their time either at home or at work, monitoring and mentoring good wellness practices can be difficult to manage.
Medicare enrollment increases by around 10,000 people in the US alone every day. This means having experts in a range of areas to help treat an aging and growing population is becoming increasingly important.
Microsoft is working with Polycom – a telepresence, video, and voice solution and service provider – to help support healthcare providers and extend their reach with wellness and acute care scenarios.
“Our combined solutions promote rich communication between care teams, doctors, and patients, as well as the delivery of diagnosis by skilled experts through these collaborative technologies,” said Robert Birch, Polycom’s Public Sector Alliance manager. “This means that patients can receive care where they spend the majority of their time – at home or at work. It also allows care organisations to spread the workload among a team of caregivers providing the right mix of general practitioners, specialty doctors, and clerical and administrative support staff. The ability to easily call in a specialist to remotely provide a diagnosis and treatment plan is a simple click away for many medical disciplines.”
Polycom and Microsoft are working together to develop a proactive model that provides better outcomes for patients and staff, as well as lowering costs. With the expansion of these collaborative technologies to include solutions such as Skype, there are additional opportunities to remotely treat patients that have suffered a stroke, skin disorders, obesity, and psychological disorders.
Having unified communications and video collaboration technology in place can bring significant benefits across areas such as care coordination, wellness and prevention, and telehealth. Healthcare providers are able to coordinate with in-home nurses, caretakers and patients across areas such as discharge planning, medication management and care support teams.
Patients can be educated remotely on the best ways to avoid chronic diseases and maintain a focus on wellness, while improvements in the telehealth sector can bring about improved healthcare in rural areas, as medical staff are able to communicate with patients regardless of location.
One notable example of an organisation using collaborative and video solutions to improve the lives of citizens is Operation Smile. Supported by volunteer medical professionals, Operation Smile uses Microsoft and Polycom’s combined video and collaborative technologies to train medical staff repair facial deformities for patients in developing countries.
The two companies are working through the Microsoft CityNext programme, helping to ensure that holistic plans are in place for cities to take advantage of technology in order to help improve life in urban areas.
“Increasingly, as our technology and healthcare needs grow and transform, more and more professionals will see the need for change and will evolve their practices to focus more on creating a healthier population rather than simply treating the sick,” Birch added.
Polycom and Microsoft will be demonstrating a number of technologies that use communication and collaboration to deliver a better healthcare experience to citizens at the HIMSS 2015 event, which takes place 12-16 April in Chicago.
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