Video in Health Care – View From Ireland

Sep 4, 2012 No Comments John Brownlee

August 14, 2012
Galway, Ireland

As I meet with health care providers in England, Ireland, and The Netherlands I’ve been impressed by the diverse approaches each country applies to the needs of the patients that present in their respective systems.

However, while each system finances and delivers care differently there is a fundamental challenge they each face: consistent access to health care provider expertise. I have yet to hear anybody complain that “our patients just have too much access to their providers” in any country I’ve visited on this trip.

It was with this challenge in mind that leading Irish health care services provider Point Of Care (www.pointofcare.ie) organized their “Video in Health Care” conference this week just outside Dublin, Ireland. The purpose of the meeting, attended by patient advocacy groups, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy groups, providers, consultants and technologists was to explore how web/mobile video solutions can be used to address issues of access to medical expertise.

Two companies with platforms that allow health care providers to easily communicate with patients through video presented at the conference.

Boston-based Vsnap (www.vsnap.com) demonstrated how users can send short, personalized videos to each other through their simple web/mobile interface. Point Of Care’s Anne Marie Devlin demonstrated how they increasingly communicate with remote patients through short, personalized video messages instead of email, increasing compliance and improving patient satisfaction in the process.

Minneapolis-based clear.md (www.clear.md) allows health care providers to easily create short, single-topic videos on virtually every topic they deal with in their practice, and then “prescribe” those videos to patients before, during, and after consultations. I showed how Irish physicians like Ronan Kavanagh (@RonanTKavanagh) are using clear.md to prescribe short, single-topic videos to their patients on a wide range of topics.

While there were great questions among the participants relating to privacy, scalability, costs, and ease-of-use there was a strong consensus that patients are already using web/mobile technologies to obtain medical expertise online, but they’re not getting that expertise from their own care team. Use of simple video technologies that put the patient’s own provider team “in their pocket” in between consultations have massive potential to improve patient’s understanding of their own conditions, medications, and care plan.

Health care systems around the world are wrestling with how to do “more with less”. As frustrated patients turn to the web for health information their care teams are increasingly searching for ways to meet that demand with their own content. New tools that allow them to easily use video to augment their limited face-to-face encounters can have a big impact on patient satisfaction and outcomes.

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