For several years healthcare has been among the fastest-growing markets for professional AV systems in the U.S., and it seems that the trend will only continue. As Commercial Integrator reports, many analysts agree that an increase in healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act will only increase technology spending – especially on devices and systems that enable doctors and nurses to better serve their patients.
One of the most compelling aspects of the healthcare AV market is its incredible diversity. There are so many exciting ways in which hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities can leverage the potential of ProAV. For value-added resellers (VARs), this presents an opportunity to grow their healthcare AV business for years to come.
Let’s take a look at some of the more common ways to use ProAV in healthcare – and a few emerging trends:
A growing number of healthcare facilities are connecting their doctors to patients, other doctors, students, healthcare consultants and more via electronic communications. This might include two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless technology or other mobile devices.
Telemedicine is growing particularly quickly because it’s versatile and convenient, and as a result of a rise in government funding for telemedicine in rural clinics and hospitals.
2. Interventional consultation.
This is a type of telemedicine in which a specialist schedules a specific time to consult with other doctors, nurses or medical students via video teleconference. Today, many hospitals are creating entire telemedicine rooms that are specifically designed for interventional consultation during surgery or diagnosis, particularly in the field of radiology, which greatly benefits from the visual nature of interventional consultation.
3. Electronic health records.
One of the fastest-growing AV trends in the healthcare market revolves around electronic health records. Nurses, doctors and patients alike benefit from the use of smart devices, digital displays and collaborative systems such as email, video and desktop sharing.
Not only does this technology enable quicker decision-making and information-sharing; it can also ensure that a patient’s health history, medication records and other vital information is effectively tracked and readily available at all times.
4. Interpreting services.
Another emerging healthcare AV trend involves connecting patients and doctors from around the world with interpreting services. For example, the University of California San Diego Health System provides care for patients from hundreds of different countries. To ensure that they can easily communicate with their healthcare providers, the hospital uses an advanced interpreting system that runs on a flat-screen tablet.
A staff of medical interpreters connect patients who speak more than 210 languages, including American Sign Language, to their healthcare providers, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The face-to-face interaction helps patients and doctors better communicate. And, since the system is wireless and portable, it enables the patient, doctor and interpreter to communicate as long, and as often, as necessary.
5. Acoustical consulting.
In addition to audio and visual technology, many healthcare facilities are turning to VARs for acoustical consulting services. For example, the MaineGeneral Medical Center Alfond Center for Health, a medical facility in Maine, partnered with a local VAR for acoustical consulting to ensure that both noise and vibration were controlled throughout the new facility.
The VAR helped the hospital create a plan for room acoustics, sound isolation, and mechanical system noise and vibration control. Not only does acoustical control help maximize the effectiveness of video conferencing technology, speakers and other audio sources, and paging systems, it also provides patients an added layer of privacy, comfort and relaxation in an otherwise stressful environment.
What other ways do you see AV making in-roads into the world of healthcare? Have you already experienced success in the healthcare market