Teleconferencing used by healthcare professionals

Teleconferencing used by healthcare professionals

Teleconferencing is already a popular way of communicating for many businesses, but the healthcare sector is one that is newly embracing the technology.

The rise of the Ontario Telemedicine Network has helped St Joseph's General Hospital and the Elliot Lake Family Health Team (FHT) to be much more efficient.

Jeff Moulton, Elliot Lake FHT's executive director, explained telemedicine has been used for the last five years and it is becoming increasingly common.

Speaking to the Elliot Lake Standard, he noted funding from the North East Local Health Integration Network has recently enabled it to move from a part-time system to one that is used all the time.

Deborah Baird, a registered nurse, is in charge of the telemedicine site at the Elliot Lake FHT and describes operating it as her main job on a daily basis.

Patients and doctors are able to see, hear and speak to each other via the teleconferencing system and this appears to be a quickly expanding area of growth within the healthcare sector.

Dawn Morissette, Blind River FHT executive director, explained one of the benefits of telemedicine is that it is flexible, which offers more choice to patients.

"This is a great thing," she told the newspaper, adding the team is already getting ready to ask for more funding to extend the telemedicine scheme even further.

This comes shortly after a report by visualisation experts Barco found that 91 per cent of respondents already work remotely on a regular basis. Some 27 per cent work flexibly almost daily, with conference calls likely to be among the ways they stay in touch with their colleagues and clients.

It was pointed out by the study that many believe the switch to a wholly virtual meeting room will be complete by the end of 2014, with 59 per cent of respondents agreeing that there will be greater adoption of technology in the coming years.