—By reducing our travel we will get more face time with our patients. That’s the view of Göran Henriks, Manager for Qulturum and Development Director at Jönköping County Council, that’s now leading a charge to get a unified videoconferencing solution deployed throughout the organization. And in phase two clinical operation will benefit by using the video technology.
Qulturum is a center within Jönköping County Council that’s responsible for development of new methods and new ways of working within healthcare. New technology – broadband connectivity and HD-resolution in modern videoconferencing systems – is a great starting point and enabler for such opportunities. Why have Doctors and Administrators book cars and drive between the various facilities when technology for online collaboration is available. With videoconferencing technology productivity is up and the environmental impact is at the same time reduced.
—Many areas are winners, stated Development Director Göran Henriks and pointed towards the environment, the day to day operations, and last but not least – the patients.
In the future we might see hospitals borrow specialists in real-time from one another. Clinical consultation using videoconferencing will no doubt increase in the future – where not only the dialog between doctors will improve but also the reviewing of for example x-rays and lab results.
This is not something entirely new to Jönköping County Council, but with recent upgrades of technology and support agreements the value of using videoconferencing will increase.
Important that the technology works
An important prerequisite is that the technology really works, says Göran Henriks:
—Everything depends on reliability and quality. It must be a solution that works every time. One failure may be acceptable, but never twice. If the system is not reliable the confidence will quickly go away according to Henriks.
To manage this commitment, Jönköping County Council contracted Compodium International AB, a Luleå based specialist in videoconferencing solutions. Around one hundred videoconferencing rooms will be installed in Jönköping County Council facilities. Also, within such a large organization there are lots of PCs, and many of those will be equipped with software and web-cameras to facilitate videoconferencing.
—The challenge is to establish new ways of working amongst all employees, says Göran Henriks.
The expectation is that eventually it will be as natural to book a videoconference, as it is today to book a car in the car pool. And the ambition is to ensure anyone trying to book a car always get the question whether the physical travel can be replaced with a videoconference. In fact, there are companies already today using their travel agency for such services.
—Work habits and processes will inevitably be impacted. There is still some skepticism to be overcome, admits Göran Henriks.
And to introduce video technology support in the clinical operation will not be done overnight. But step by step it will happen.
Many winners with travel free meetings
When a specialist in Jönköping or Eksjö consults with a Doctor in Värnamo using video technology, productivity is gained. And if that means avoiding time consuming travel the result may be time to pick up kids from day care and more time with the family in the evening. Also the environment will benefit, the operation will be more efficient, and by the end of the day, more time can be spent with each patient.
—Many winners with these changes. Distances are reduced with this technology, states Göran Henriks and points towards the opportunity for clinical cooperation with other County Councils in the future.
The vision is also to be able to provide remote healthcare in the future. Some trials are ongoing in for example Västerbotten County Council where a district nurse that’s visiting a patient in his home, can connect with the responsible Doctor using mobile videoconferencing solutions. Those trials are indicating that this is a good opportunity to reduce hospital care and replace it with less expensive home care.
There are many applications for this technology. The challenge is to change our behavior.
—I believe in this. Now we are implementing a solution with best of breed technology in Jönköping County Council. Next step is to have our staff realizing all the benefits, says Göran Henriks.