Part One and Part Two in this series focused on having a solid usage plan as well as properly preparing your network for mobile video. This last part focuses on adoption of mobile video and a positive end user experience. Usage, adoption, and positive experiences are paramount when rolling out a new technology. Having a clear program in place for those aspects helps to ensure adoption and a positive end user experience. This plan focuses on the following key areas:

  • Promotion
  • Training
  • Support
  • Tracking

All of these pieces go together to best create a usage and adoption plan. Starting with promoting the new technology is as important as tracking usage and user experience as an on-going process. Understanding all of the steps in this process will help to create an effective implementation as well as assist in ensuring a positive on-going experience.

Download our User Experience and Adoption Checklist to help you put a solid plan in place.

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5 Best Practices for Conducting a Video Call

Video conferencing has proven to be a great way to enhance collaboration and increase productivity. In the last few years, video has gained popularity due to technology advancements and ease of use improvements. That said, there are important user elements to keep in mind to ensure a successful video call.

Here are five best practices to keep in mind:

1. Lighting: Lighting is one of the most important aspects of a video call and bad lighting can take a good quality to poor quality very quickly. First, make sure there is enough light in the room. If dimly lit, turn more lights on or add a lamp to your workstation. Second, look at the direction of the light. If your lighting is coming from directly behind you, particularly from a window, then you are going to appear as a very dark shadow to the person you are speaking with. It would be best to move to where the window is not directly behind you, close the blinds, or try and counter the light with a lamp on you desk.. Lastly, overhead lighting can create a lot of shadows. Having a lamp pointing at you on your desk can help with creating the ideal lighting that is pointing towards you and illuminating the face.

2. Camera Angle: testing and adjusting your camera angle prior to the call is important in ensuring proper set-up. Using the self-view mode can help to give you a good idea of how you will appear to the participant on the other end of the call. If on a laptop, positioning your web cam at eye level is a good way to avoid awkward angles. If conducting a video call on a mobile device, keeping the device as steady as possible while also holding it out in front of you at eye level are very important. When using a room based system, zoom the camera to focus on the participants in the room while making sure that everyone on the call is in the frame.

3. Speaker/Volume: There are a few important aspects you want to pay attention to when it comes to speakers and volume while on a video call. First, test your speakers and audio prior to the call to ensure they are working properly. Second, using a headset can help with reducing outside noise, echo, and improving overall audio quality when using a laptop or mobile device for your video call. Lastly, if on a larger multiparty call, mute yourself when not speaking so as to avoid any added noise.

4. Eye contact/Multitasking: Often on video calls, people will look down to take notes or work on their computer. Try to look in to the camera while speaking and avoid looking down for long periods of time. Also, when sharing content, place the content on the same level as the camera so as to not appear you are looking away while presenting. Because eye contact is so important in a video call, try to avoid multi-tasking including checking email, looking at your phone, or even getting up. This can be very distracting for other parties on the call, and it can create the appearance that you are not actively participating in the call. Eliminating distractions in your environment can help with keeping you focused on the call at hand.

5. Bandwidth: Having adequate bandwidth is one of the most important elements when conducting a video call. Testing your video prior to a meeting helps to ensure you have adequate bandwidth for the call. Required network speeds for video conferencing vary depending on the solution. For example, consumer applications tend to require less bandwidth, whereas enterprise options can require more. Likewise, depending on the solution, multiparty calls can increase requirements as well.

Video has traditionally been viewed as complicated with a wide range of phrases that many don’t understand. It seems as though every day there are new terms and buzzwords being used in the video industry that make keeping up and mastering the technology very difficult at times.

With the rise of video conferencing popularity understanding some of these terms is imperative in choosing the right solution.

Here are 10 of the most common terms and their definitions:

1. Endpoint: The physical equipment or software used to make a video connection. They can be in the form of a room based system, desktop client, or a mobile device.

2. Content Sharing: Showing your desktop or specific content such as power point presentation, word or excel documents, pictures etc.

3. Point to point call: Communication between two endpoints. This is in contrast to a multipoint call where there are three or more connections on the call.

4. Multipoint Call: Communication between 3 or more connections. Multipoint calls connect using either a hardware or a cloud based bridge.

5. Firewall Traversal: Technology that creates a secure path through the firewall. This enables traffic from an organizations internal network to internet at large.

6. Interoperability: The ability for systems to work together. With video this means different endpoints being able to connect together for a video call.

7. Room based systems: Portable or non-portable dedicated systems with all the required components for a video call. This usually includes a camera, codec, control computer and all electrical interfaces. Typically, microphones and a display will connect to the system as well.

8. Streaming: A Method of relaying data (video) over a computer network as a steady continuous stream, and allowing playback to proceed while subsequent data is being received.

9. H.323: A standard video protocol that manufacturers use that allow their systems to speak the same language. It controls audio and video signals, bandwidth, and call control.

10. SIP: A video protocol designed to enable the communication and connection of devices across networks. This is an older protocol that was designed more for closed systems that would ultimately connect via gateways to other closed systems.

This-week-in-collaboration

Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration.

1. Working Smarter: The Paradigm Shift in Business Collaboration

Great insight on how individuals embracing new collaboration tools will benefit from a more innovative, efficient, and happier workforce. In contrast to past work environments, these new disruptive forces in collaboration technologies have created new strategies for companies to implement.

2. Fufulling the promise of advanced collaboration 

Although the advanced collaboration technologies emerging in our market today are increasing productivity, there have been many IT challenges along the way. One of the most difficult hurdles for implementing these tools is the lack of an open standards-based development framework.

3. Collaboration and the future of Customer Support 

Understanding the changing nature of customer support is imperative for organizations looking to increase productivity and customer approval rates. This new wave of collaborative support is strongly tied to the mobile revolution, with the addition of social options alongside traditional phone support.

4. Five tips to ace your next video conference from anywhere 

With the rise in popularity of video conferencing, particularly mobile video, these are some important tips to remember when conducting your next video call. These include practice, position, appearance, attention and mute/disconnect.

5. Web Conferencing: Need for Today’s Business World 

With the increasing mobile workforce, the need for high quality collaborative technologies is very important for productivity. Web conferencing in particular allows individuals to connect and join a meeting any time and any place.

American Telemedicine Association’s policy duo, Jonathan Linkous, CEO, and Gary Capistrant, Senior Director of Public Policy, return with updates and new information regarding telemedicine.

Congress
In the wake of the Government shutdown, Congress continues to debate several different legislative proposals and provisions. One aspect involves the repeal of the medical device tax which charges a 2.3% tax on all medical devices; including some telemedicine components. The provision to repeal this tax is on the table; however, Capistrant says while this is possible it is not probable.

Bill HR 3077 was introduced by Congressmen Devin Nunez and Frank Pallone to allow providers with one state license to provide care via telemedicine to Medicare beneficiaries wherever. A similar bill, HR 2001, by Charles Rangel would provide the same for VA beneficiaries. These bills will essentially make one license enough for healthcare providers working with federal agencies or federal programs. This will help expand access to telehealth services which can provide numerous cost benefits to both patients and providers.

Greg Harper’s bill, mentioned in the last webcast, to improve Medicare coverage for telehealth has not been introduced because of the shutdown. However, because this is the beginning of a two year congressional session, even if this bill does not get passed this fiscal year there is still next year.

FDA
The FDA has released final guidance on mobile medical applications in an attempt provide clear direction to device makers and application developers as to what constitutes as a medical device and needs to go through the FDA approval process. Their regulatory focus will be on medical apps that present a greater risk to patients if they do not work as intended. Additionally, the FDA will develop a web-based platform for developers to seek advice about devices and situations. This will provide better guidance and make it clear as to when the FDA needs to be engaged and what the provisions will be.

States
Fiscal year 2013 was a very busy year for state telehealth legislation and this year will be more of the same. Much of the legislation that was not enacted last year will be reintroduced in 2014. At the top are the 10 states that had proposals for parity with private insurance companies that were not enacted. These states include Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

In other news, it was reported that an Oklahoma doctor was disciplined for using Skype to treat patients. However, the use of Skype was inconsequential to what physician Thomas Trow was doing wrong. The main disciplinary issues were Trow’s over prescription of narcotics and failure to maintain medical records. In fact, Trow had previously received disciplinary action from the Oklahoma Medical Board (OMB) for over prescribing, narcotics violations, and record violations. The OMB filed action September 12 and 16 and put out proposals that, according to Capistrant, may be over-reaching and affect telemedicine. The ATA is working with the OMB to ensure these new provisions do not negatively affect telehealth services.

Guidelines
ATA is currently working on a series of guidelines and telehealth best practices for remote ICU, burns and wounds, and primary and urgent care. They are currently awaiting review and approval from the Board and should be available in the next few months.

The next This Month in Telemedicine webcast is scheduled for October 29, 2:00-3:00PM EST.