Healthcare Professionals Getting A Dose Of Streaming
No Time Like the Present
In addition to producing two internal business channels, patient education programming to all the rooms in the Charleston Area Medical Center, Young and the media production team also provide accredited courses such as those available on the Web site, to hundreds of residents, faculty, and staff. Time is short. The needs are critical. Young cites the nursing shortage as a critical problem among the institute’s partner organizations. Nurses and clinicians can be earning CME credits without leaving the patients who need their care. By avoiding the need to go to a classroom, more professionals can be learning. By reducing the amount of planning and coordinating necessary to capture or stream an event live, the media production staff can focus on graphics and lighting and making sure that content is posted to the portal quickly.
Support Takes Time
One of Young’s reservations with making rich media content available to the Web was that they do not have the staff in the group to support individual users with streaming media issues. Experience with other visual communications technologies in the past has shown that when the target audience doesn’t get the media they need, the phone rings off the hook. "We have found that for the nurses, physicians, and patients receiving, the content created using our internal process is very easy to access," reports Young. When someone signs up for a course, they are instructed to test their personal computer capabilities and settings by going to a confidence testing site. At this site, a server detects the codecs available and assists the user through a self-service upgrade process if necessary.
Time is Money
"With the money we have invested in the streaming sofware, we practically recovered our expenses after just two presentations," Young says. "Plus, it adds value to our content because we can reuse it without incurring additional fees for archiving or storage." But for Young the ultimate goal is to offer greater value. "We are not focusing totally on the cost reduction angle. It’s really all about enhancing the delivery of medical education not only to nurses and physicians, but over time to the communities we serve as well."
One trial is using two-way video chat to connect at-risk patients with mental health professionals, and so far the results are encouraging.
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