Research indicates that video conferencing is transforming healthcare services on a global scale. When dealing with video conferencing in the medical field, one can often come across terms such as: telemedicine, telehealth and e-health but essentially they all stand for the use of technology to support the delivery of healthcare services with the aid of visual and audio communications. Research predicts a very high boost in the use of these conferencing solutions for patients in their homes as they are an important component of at-home care.
One of the main reasons for increased demands of video conferencing in this field is the increase of chronic disease and the ageing of Europe’s population which enables the elderly and those with limited mobility functions to receive treatment directly from their homes. This creative way of communication also enables more patients to be seen per day and reduces costs as physicians and patients don’t have to travel to or between hospitals. Video conferencing has also helped reduced decision making time which can be crucial in emergency health related situations. The uses also bring benefits in the areas of medical education and training.
Thanks to a well-developed public infrastructure that exists in Northern Europe video can be delivered over the network as a service. The UK for example has hosted some very successful pilot telemedicine projects. The situation is slightly different in Eastern Europe where it is slightly more challenging for video conferencing but not at all impossible.
All in all using video conferencing in medicine brings many positive results. It reduces admin work, has a demonstrated ability to reduce travel costs, consulting hours and the overall time patients spend in care. The quality of the delivered service has also shown to improve, as medical specialists are more widely available, the treatment cycles have shorter duration and it enables collaboration between healthcare professionals. Perhaps the biggest advantage is providing healthcare services to citizens in their own homes. This is becoming a priority for most national health organisations in Europe.