Streaming in Healthcare: The Medical Industry’s Swiss Army KnifeDecember 23, 2019
A first responder at the basecamp of Everest using streaming to consult remote doctors. The 20 million endoscopies performed annually in the United States. A surgical procedure broadcast to medical staff and students as a means of engaging, real-time education.
These are just some of the ways healthcare innovators are using live streaming to improve medical outcomes and push the industry forward.
Live streaming technology is revolutionizing how clinicians treat their patients and train the next generation of doctors. The benefits of this are far-reaching. For one, streaming can bring the expertise of remote doctors to every corner of the world. Just imagine relying on a leading London-based neonatologist to treat a baby born four months premature in rural India.
Beyond that, streaming technology delivers 360-degree insight into internal ailments. Medical professionals use video-enabled devices to remove polyps, examine the causes of chronic irritation, perform robotic surgeries, and make successful diagnoses.
Live streaming has even found its way into education and awareness. Two doctors teamed up to live stream a colonoscopy back in 2016 with the goal of demystifying the procedure. They leveraged video as a form of outreach to show reluctant patients how undergoing regular exams can easily prevent the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S.
Medical students are another common audience for such broadcasts. And because streaming supports live video delivery across the world, it ensures that our global healthcare community stays woke on the most cutting-edge training and procedures.
Requirements of Streaming in Healthcare
So, what exactly is required to make live streaming in healthcare successful? Quality and low latency, for starters. Successfully performing a coronary bypass would be near-impossible with a grainy display or significant lag. Reliability and security are also must-haves. In the age of HIPAA, video-assisted surgery wouldn’t be permitted without bulletproof protection of such data. Finally, when it comes to education and training, global scalability plays a significant role.
Hospitals are equipping operating rooms with integrated streaming technology to improve surgical outcomes and enhance patient care. From laparoscopies and endoscopies to any robotic surgery, streaming allows doctors to perform minimally invasive operations that reduce recovery time for patients. Doctors can leverage 3D high-definition cameras to perform surgeries easily and quickly. Plus, by controlling robotic arms, surgeons benefit from a clearer view of the operation and less fatigue.
Streaming in Education
Knowledge transfer comes easy with the help of live streaming. Accessibility and affordability have both been the driving forces behind using streaming for medical education. Video has always been instrumental in the industry, but live streaming means that businesses don’t necessarily have to hire film crews or broadcasters. This makes it easier and more affordable to educate new doctors. What’s more, streaming can be used for simulations and remote consultations.
Innovation means using video in ways that it’s never been used before. Many organizations have capitalized on streaming technology to extend medical expertise to rural areas. As one heartstring-pulling example, Child Health Imprints built streaming into an internet of things (IoT)-enabled device for neonates.
The cloud-hosted appliance assimilates real-time data from the disparate biomedical devices used to monitor preterm infants — including ventilators, monitors, and blood gas analyzers. In addition to reducing time-to-treatment and improving quality of care, the product enables remote monitoring of neonates in rural regions via video streaming.
“It gives so much more confidence to the doctor if he can see the patient, can see what the intervention is. If I increase the ventilation by this much, how is the patient behaving? If I do a procedure, how is a patient’s facial expression? That’s where the visual is so much more important,” explains Child Health Imprints cofounder Harpreet Singh.
Streaming also powers virtual doctor visits, wherein a patient can videoconference a doctor rather than physically traveling to an office.
What’s Next for Streaming in Healthcare
With wearables taking over healthcare, we’d bet that video and IoT collide to produce streaming-enabled wearable devices. This marriage wouldn’t only allow users to video chat with a doctor on the go, it would also enable the sharing of real-time health metrics such as blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and more.
Live streaming is democratizing medicine. Doctors-in-training around the world can access educational streams of experts in their field, and people in need of medical attention are no longer limited to the practitioners in their neck of the woods. Telehealth promised to make the industry more cost-effective — not to mention convenient. And 5G will extend these capabilities beyond just the home, to include mobile users without a Wi-Fi connection.