For many medical professionals and patients, telehealth is seen as a “silver lining” of the coronavirus pandemic. Telehealth is not a new technology, but one that took off in 2020 due to practical necessity. Avoidance of in-person meetings and doctor’s visits reduced the spread of coronavirus and resulted in the swift evolution of remote meeting and medical consultation hardware and apps. Telehealth provides safe, convenient, remote patient consultation and diagnosis with 98.3% overall patient satisfaction according to a ResearchGate study.
Telehealth is now an intrinsic part of healthcare services worldwide. It is a rapidly expanding market and part of a wider digital healthcare revolution. The forecast is bright for telehealth. The industry is growing at a CAGR of 25.90% from 2021 to 2030 according to a study by Allied Market Research. The applications of telehealth, from telemedicine to telemonitoring are rapidly growing and diverse. Telehealth offers patients choices through increased digital engagement, giving them the power to decide who delivers their care.
Telehealth services today still have several commonly encountered pain points. Staff using medical carts equipped with PTZ cameras often report difficulty controlling the cameras. This is primarily a result of latency caused by internet speed, causing operators to over-pan when capturing details of patients. Remote doctors also struggle to obtain images and video in true color. Capturing images in true color is essential for remote doctors in order to view details of skin, veins and wounds such as burns. For remote doctors, receiving images and video without true color, adds to the challenge of making correct diagnoses. Lastly, sometimes patients have difficulty speaking loud enough for microphones to pick up their voices clearly.
AVer addresses the swiftly evolving needs of the telehealth industry. Through understanding and addressing the needs of medical professionals, AVer has produced revolutionary medical cameras with the hope of benefiting the community. Read on to discover more.
In the early days of the pandemic, many ICU units were at full capacity and it was inevitable that there would be a shortage of caregivers. In order to protect themselves from the virus, nurses had to change into isolation gowns before entering the ICU. Donning and doffing isolation gowns along with other necessary PPE takes around twenty minutes. Sometimes, patients were in need of emergency medical intervention, but by the time the nurses could enter to treat them, it was too late. Everything was separated by a thick layer of glass; doctors had to give instructions during emergencies when they couldn’t properly communicate with patients.
Numerical physiological signs can be observed, but many things cannot be expressed through data, and there are bound to be gaps in communication. While medical crews worldwide were worrying about whether there was a smarter solution to the isolation ward, the Director of the ICU department at a large hospital in New Taipei City thought of the first possible responder and neighbor: AVer.
AVer's main products are education technology and video conferencing solutions. It is one of the world's top three visualizer manufacturers, with more than twenty years of image processing and video decoding at its core technology foundation. Although this expertise seems unconnected to the medical world, the ICU Director had a vision, “I imagined the patient in the ward and the doctor outside the ward. If there was a camera in the middle, they would be connected.” The ICU Director said with a smile.
When AVer heard the news, the company immediately decided to support the hospital unconditionally. As the pandemic swept across the world, frontline medical staff had the toughest job of all. AVer understood the need to support them and make a contribution to the medical industry. Furthermore, this was AVer’s first step in designing medical products.
When AVer received the request for help from the hospital, it quickly built a team. At first, many difficulties presented themselves, especially communication gaps between AVer and the hospital. For example, the request from the hospital was, “I want to see the patients clearly and I want to hear voices on the ward.” So AVer’s engineers needed to uncover the practical problems and find solutions. Namely, did they want to see the whole ward or the details of a single patient? What are the zoom times, in order for them to see patients in detail? During the process of developing this product, AVer encountered many other problems.
AVer Connected Health Solution’s Manager James Liao told us, “We encountered an issue with the setup. Unable to enter the ICU except for during specific times, and because there were a lot of patients simultaneously, we couldn’t test onsite. From the transmission bandwidth to the wiring diagrams, and the exact position, these could only be communicated through video. Finally, the actual set up schedule was tight; we needed to do it quickly, just as a patient was discharged, eventually the setting up of cameras in 30 ICU units and the customization of software for the nursing station took two weeks.” James further added, “We invested more than 0.5 million USD and another 10 months in the product development of the MD330U Series mainly based on this experience and feedback from physicians, making the innovative PTZ camera models able to meet the needs of various clinical environments.”
Below is the interview with James Liao from AVer.
How does the AVer Medical Grade Camera benefit medical practice?
AVer MD330U Series is a true revolution in Telemedicine technology. The camera design means that an off-site doctor can remotely control the motorized PTZ function as standard. Onsite staff can assist in viewing difficult-to-see areas simply by detaching the camera and positioning it closer to the relevant part of the body. The MD330U Series is equipped with an all-in-one audio system that makes communication smooth and seamless. Also the MD330UI with night view function can be used to monitor patients 24/7, saving time and resources and lessening nurse burnout.
With AVer’s medical grade cameras, nurses don’t constantly need to wear isolation gowns to enter ICU wards in order to observe patients on an hourly basis. This freedom allows them to make better use of their time attending to other duties. For doctors, the MD330U Series can provide them with clear images. Not only can they give correct instructions remotely, but they can also help other doctors to fill in during emergencies and during surgery. Thus patients can enjoy a higher standard of medical care.
In addition to these points, our solutions play an important role in connecting families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, a pregnant woman who was infected with COVID-19 was being treated in isolation in the ICU. Her situation took a turn for the worse, but her family members were in quarantine and unable to visit her. They wanted to say goodbye to each other, so a nurse thought of an idea to link them all. They were able to communicate remotely using AVer’s PTZ cameras and software. During the dark days of the pandemic, AVer tried its best to help make patients feel less isolated by connecting them to their families.
What does the future hold for the digital health industry?
There will be more AI and automated functions developed by startups and established companies alike. The goal is increasing work efficiency for doctors and nurses, helping them to reduce their burden. Medical professionals should be able to focus on their tasks and not have to spend unnecessary time on paperwork or walking from room to room. The pandemic prompted medical professionals and technological advances to work and grow together, ushering in a new era of telehealth.