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
There are currently 30 plus proposed bills before Congress and 2013 has been one of the biggest years for telehealth legislation. The most notable is the Harper Bill which has been previously discussed; the biggest emphasis is getting this bill to the Congressional Budget Office so they can provide their estimate as to the cost savings this bill provides.

Telestroke is a major component which Linkous says can help revolutionize stroke care. Last year over 100,000 people who had a stroke were seen in an ER remotely by a neurologist. While he can’t be sure how many lives were saved, he guesses it was a significant percentage. Unfortunately, the savings associated with telestroke are not necessarily while patients are in the hospital. They come after patients have been discharged since they don’t have to go to rehab or go to the nursing home as much. This presents a challenge for the Congressional Budget Office to quantify the savings of the Harper Bill.

Another bill introduced is Peters H.R. 3507 for TRICARE and all of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). Essentially, it will establish parity coverage for teleheath and it will also make one state license all that’s necessary for physicians to practice via telehealth. Other bills include the Step Act (H.R. 1832), VETS Act, H.R. 2001 and the TELE-MED Act, H.R. 3077 which also support the requirement for only one state license necessary to practice telehealth.

State Activity
A major topic is dealing with internet prescriptions or the ability to prescribe medication without actually seeing a patient in person. There are several state professional regulations and state medical boards that have different rules regarding licensing, standard of care and scope of practice. Since there are so many different ways states are handling this topic the ATA is working on developing a set of guidelines.

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.

As the times change, the interview process is changing as well. In this case we are talking about video conferencing. Although video conference interviews have not completely replaced face to face interviewing, they are often done at a very important point in the interview process; the first impression. This first impression will help to determine if candidates are an initial good fit for the position or not. As important as it is for the candidate to make a good first impression, it is also very important for you and your organization to come across in a positive and professional manner.

Video interviews can be as effective as an in-person interview but it is very important to understand how the process works so you can conduct these conversations as productively as possible. Here are 10 tips for conducting a high quality video interview.

1. Set Expectations: At the beginning of the interview make sure the interviewee understands the goal of the call and what you would like to get accomplished. Understanding what will take place right from the start will help to ease any jitters the candidate might have with this form of interview.

2. Make interviewee comfortable: In addition to setting expectations up front, do your best to make them feel welcome and comfortable. In most cases the interviewee will become more comfortable as the interview goes on so allow plenty of time. This will also help to avoid any rushing in case of technology issues.

3. Shut off all other technologies: Make sure you turn off all other technology to ensure you are not distracted while interviewing the participant. Hearing email or instant message notifications is not only distracting to you but can be very distracting for the interviewee.

4. Talk Slowly: Video calls can speed up the pace of your words so make sure you take your time when speaking to the interviewee. Sometimes connections can get choppy as well so if that starts to occur make sure to speak slower and repeat when necessary if you are having connection problems.

5. Have high quality equipment: During a video interview, the interviewee should have a high quality picture of you and your team. Try to avoid connecting via wireless for quality purposes and make sure you have a high quality microphone to ensure good audio quality.

6. Keep a clean presentation area: Have a clutter free, well lit area to conduct the interview, just as you would expect the participant to have. Make sure you are facing the camera at an appropriate angle, as this will create a more engaging experience for the participant.

7. Maintain good personal presentation: Along the lines of a clean presentation area, you should also have good personal presentation and conduct. Dress as if you were conducting a face to face interview and present yourself over video in a natural way.

8. Provide instructions ahead of time: Send both interview materials as well as any technology best practices or log-in information in advance to make the interviewee more comfortable and to help avoid any issues ahead of time.

9. Be patient: Understand that not all people are comfortable with technology and some candidates may stumble at first when participating in a video interview. Along the same lines, it is important to realize that technical glitches do happen so try to make the interviewee comfortable if they do.

10. Deliver a virtual handshake: Due to the inability to give a real handshake in a video interview, it is important to deliver a thought out sign off statement indicating that the interview is over. This can be as simple as a “thank you, we will speak soon.”

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As I sit here on the eve of thanksgiving, thinking about the holiday and what I am thankful for, one of the first things that comes to mind  is how thankful I am for the ability to work remotely. With the use of video conferencing I have been able to travel and spend the holiday week with my family all while still staying connected with colleagues and able to conduct face to face meetings.

The ability to connect and collaborate with people from anywhere at anytime is just one of the many benefits of video conferencing. That being said, there are a few specific features on a video call that I am very thankful for every day.  So in honor of the thanksgiving spirit, I have chosen my top 3 to share with you.

1. Muting – Nothing is more distracting when trying to focus during a video call then hearing loud background noise, keyboard typing or phones ringing. Having the ability to mute participants while on a call is very beneficial when dealing with those obnoxious distractions. Many video conferencing offerings have the ability to either mute all (convenient when someone is giving a presentation) or to individually mute unruly participants.

2. One-click calling – The age old problem with video conferencing has been how difficult it is to use. With one-click calling video can be as easy as making a phone call. This means no more confusing meetings where no one can figure out how to get the video call started, remote participants can’t dial in, and inevitably everyone ends up dialing in over audio out of pure frustration.

3.  Self view functionality – When first starting to use video, having the self-view window was very important to me as I was always concerned about the facial expressions I was making during the call. The self-view window also helps for making sure the lighting and your positioning in front of the camera is correct because nothing is worse than talking with someone who is sitting with a sunny window behind them and the camera positioned so you are looking up their nostrils.

What video features are you thankful for? Share in the comments section below!

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

 

 

The use of video conferencing continues to grow as many companies note the numerous benefits that the technology provides. However, making the initial decision to invest in video can be a difficult one. Many executives wonder whether video is truly a necessity or if it’s just a nice to have communications platform. Do the benefits of the technology really outweigh the cost of the technology?

While there are several things to remember when incorporating video conferencing into a business, here are a few key questions to ask when getting started.

Do I really need this technology?
Many companies initially question the idea of implementing video conferencing. Why change what isn’t broken; especially in well established companies that have proven processes in place. Video conferencing can augment many of those proven processes and connect internal members of the organization to suppliers and customers. Increased communication can provide numerous efficiencies and cost reductions along with higher customer satisfaction and retention. Therefore, while video conferencing may not initially seem necessary, it can quickly become an invaluable tool within an organization.

Does it affect my company in a positive way?
While it’s necessary to look at how video conferencing will impact the entire organization, it is also important to first look at how it will impact the work of the individuals who will be using it most often. The goal of visual collaboration is to allow for easier communication among team members. If everyone is two steps away from each other in an office, video may not that important. However, there are many different ways video can be integrated into an organization including conducting initial interviews and providing customer support over video instead of the phone.

Am I going to benefit financially?
Video collaboration has allowed companies to hold meetings and discuss ideas remotely while significantly reducing travel costs and other unnecessary expenditures. For organizations that have several offices, video can increase productivity by reducing the need for travel.  Instead of spending hours flying across several states or even 20-30 minutes driving across town, teams can get down to business and make decisions faster than ever before. All of this translates into reduced costs and a solid ROI for video conferencing.

How do I select the right technology?
After you’ve made the decision to invest in video, sifting through the different technology options can be overwhelming. A VAR or systems integrator can help determine your organizations needs then offer recommendations as to which technology best fits the organization’s overarching goals and budgetary requirements. It is important to select a partner that has experience and expertise in designing and implementing different visual collaboration solutions and environments.

Is everyone on board with using video?
If the executive team isn’t using video, then how important is the technology to the company? Management needs to believe in the technology otherwise driving usage and adoption throughout the organization is going to be extremely difficult. Additionally, it is important to communicate the reason for the investment, as well as, the expected benefits to individuals who will be using the technology.

Every company is unique and similar decisions can produce different results across organizations. Video conferencing however, seems to be a common factor among highly successful companies and the continued use of the technology provides many efficiencies that increase the bottom line. So if your company doesn’t have video conferencing yet, go ahead and take a leap of faith, the results may surprise you!

 

Video interviewing has been consistently gaining traction with hiring managers and recruiters over the last few years due to the time savings and the ability to cut down on travel expenses. Video interviews also give companies insights they would not be able to get over the phone or when reviewing a paper resume including body language and personality.

That being said, video interviews can seem very daunting to anyone unfamiliar or uncomfortable using video conferencing technology. With the prevalence of video interviewing growing rapidly it is essential to understand both the technology and the etiquette in order to make the best impression.

Here are 10 tips for both preparing and conducting your video interview.

  1. Choose a Quiet and Clean Surrounding:  Make sure you set yourself up with a simple neutral background. Elaborate backdrops can be very distracting. Choose a place that has little to no noise and where you will not have people distracting you or the interviewer.
  2. Be Aware Background Noise: The microphone picks up all noises so avoid typing, shuffling papers, or tapping your pen while on the video call.
  3. Make Eye Contact: Look directly in to the camera. You want to make eye contact with the interviewer and that means looking in to the camera, not at the screen or the picture-in-picture screen of yourself.
  4. Use the Picture-in-Picture Feature: Although you should look directly in to the camera for making eye contact, having the PiP feature enabled will help to make sure you appear professionally to the interviewer. Just make sure you only glance at it once in a while.
  5. Dress Professionally: You need to look your best on camera. Dress as if you would for an in-person interview. Solid colors tend to come across best on video, and you should avoid patterns and white as they tend to be distracting or will wash you out.
  6. Practice Makes Perfect: If possible do a video run through with a friend before the interview. Practice answering questions over video and get feedback on your demeanor. Also, take note of your appearance over video and ask your friend to let you know of any thing you were doing that might be distracting.
  7. Good Posture: Sit up straight and try not to slouch, fidget, or look away from the camera. It is very important to show you are engaged, as it is much easier to appear uninterested when over video. Act as if you were in the interviewers office.
  8. Close Other Programs on Your Computer: Notifications from instant messaging programs or social media are both distracting and look unprofessional. Also, too many open programs on your computer can slow your computer speed which can reduce your video quality.
  9. Use Notes: One of the benefits of a video interview is that you can have notes. Notes are ok but make them short, easy to scan, and position them in front of you so that when you refer to them you aren’t looking down.
  10. Test your audio and video: Prior to your interview test your video and audio quality and resolve any technical issues that arise. This will help to alleviate any problems when the interview starts which can be both flustering to the interviewee and take away from the time of the interview if it is on a strict time schedule.