Avaya's Futuristic Vision for Healthcare: Telemedicine, Doctor-to-Doctor Texting, Better Customer Service

Avaya has traditionally built technology that helps people communicate better with one another. Not surprisingly, that technology is found in the world’s largest contact centers, and on the desks (and desktops) of millions of knowledge workers.

It’s also landing in hospitals, in the form of video conferencing, messaging apps and network-based communication. I recently sat down with Molly True, who works on Avaya’s healthcare team to talk about what our company is doing in this space.

Molly True, Avaya

Fletch: Hey, Fletch with the Avaya Podcast Network. We’re talking with Molly True, who is a Marketing Manager for the healthcare industry here at Avaya. Welcome to Tech Talk, on the Avaya Podcast Network.

Molly True: Thanks, Fletch. Glad to be here.

Fletch: You were recently down at the HIMSS show in Orlando. What is HIMSS? What’s that stand for?

Molly True: It stands for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

Fletch: Great. That’s about everybody who does everything for the healthcare industry. So, there are medical suppliers, but also communications and technology people there too, right?

Molly True: Yes.

Fletch: Anybody who has anything to do with the healthcare industry is going to go down to this show. That’s like the Enterprise Connect for the healthcare industry.

Molly True: Yes, basically that’s what it is.

Fletch: Obviously, Avaya had a booth there and we were showing a bunch of stuff. What did we have on display in our particular booth?

Molly True: What we had on display was, first, there is an application that we built called Mobile Activity Assistant. It provides secure messaging and prioritization for clinicians–so nurses, doctors–so they can do messaging using the enterprise network.

We also had our Scopia solutions there. We’ve partnered with telemedicine cart providers, as well as what they call a “suitcase” for providing remote or home care, and embedded in the solutions are the Avaya Scopia software.

We also shared our basically enterprise collaboration solutions, including our Avaya one-X Communicator. We also showed AvayaLive Engage.

We showed some information about Avaya Fabric Connect, because we’ve actually been making some inroads with healthcare customers with our networking solutions, because healthcare organizations– even though you wouldn’t think about it–accept credit cards just like a financial institution does, so they have to subscribe to the payment regulations.

Actually, the healthcare organizations have been having some issues with that, and so our Fabric Connect solutions have been helping a lot with that compliance.

Related article: HIMSS 2014: A Live Look from the Show Floor

Fletch: The healthcare industry really is a unique one because they touch a lot of the things that we normally deal with in normal commercial accounts, and really, we solved a lot of those problems for our normal enterprise commercial customers, and it’s just drawing that into the healthcare space, and making the business case or use case applicable to their specific marketplace, right?

Molly True: Exactly. The big thing in healthcare too is that they are definitely wrapped up, from a U.S. perspective, in the requirements around the EMR, electronic medical record, deployments and completing their stage one requirements, and meeting their stage two requirement.

Use cases where we can actually integrate with any of those systems are definitely useful, because there’s been a lot of investment dollars on their EMR deployment.

Fletch: Telemedicine has been around for a long time and people have been taking medical data from instruments and so forth, and transmitting that remotely for quite some time.

I think the video aspect in telemedicine is really probably something that’s just coming out. A product like Scopia that’s really easy to deploy into the field, where you don’t need equipment or special software at the remote site. That’s got to really be making a huge difference for telemedicine.

Molly True: Yeah. It’s basically being able to see what they see.

Sometimes the use case is not necessarily for diagnosis, but for somebody that is out at the remote location to be able to show the doctor … what they’re seeing.

That actually has use cases in collaborating within the care team as well, because you may have a doctor on one side of the city and another specialist on the other side of the city who needs to consult on the same customer case. Being able to see what they’re seeing, and everybody looking at the same test results, can be really powerful.

Fletch: I would think that looking at somebody, and if you’ve never video conferenced before, you might not realize this right away, but if you have video conferenced, you realize, it’s the body language, the facial expressions, these are all really important things that add to the context of a conversation.

A simple question like, “How much pain are you in?” but seeing someone on video could totally make that a totally different answer for a perceived answer than, “No, no. I am fine.”

“Well, it doesn’t look like you’re fine.”

Molly True: Exactly. You can better judge that person and what kind of pain they’re in if you can see them.

Fletch: Or someone says, “It’s just a small cut.”

“Well, it looks like it’s about an 8-inch cut from here, so I think you need to get to the hospital.”

Again, video is probably one of the most revolutionary things–creating a dynamic change in the way that we communicate for a long, long time. As it becomes more available on more and more devices, the use cases are coming out of the woodwork and when you get into a specialty field, that’s really visually-related like healthcare, I think the use cases really depend on how much you can dream.

I heard about the “suitcase” last year. I think one of the Avaya award winners was a doctor that took Scopia into the jungle for medical analysis of a patient.

Molly True: Exactly. That’s actually one of the pictures we put up on our new Avaya Healthcare landing page, because it’s a powerful picture, being able to service someone, and do tests, and send the results back from a remote location like that.

Fletch: That’s great. And again, people may not think of Avaya as a healthcare provider company, but in the healthcare market, communications is probably one of their key things, whether it is radio interoperability with the telephone system or multimedia collaborative conferencing, they’ve got every single need that a normal enterprise has.

It’s good to see that Avaya takes a part of that by attending HIMSS. I hear you’ve got a ton of pictures that you’re going to be posting.

Molly True: Yes, I do, but one other thing I wanted to mention to you.

Avaya obviously has relevance in the contact center space. … As you were saying before, you may not actually think of contact centers when you think of healthcare, but if you think of all the nurse lines, they may not be managed like a contact center today, but they could be better manage the customer experience if you manage them like a contact center.

Appointment systems, where you call in and you get someone to do appointments: If they were managed more like a contact center, you could actually manage that customer experience better.

Fletch: Yeah, it’s all about managing multi-model communications with people who need assistance and people that can provide the assistance.

Molly True: Exactly.

Fletch: I really hope you’ll check back with us as the year goes on, Molly, because I am sure we’re going to be making a lot of strides in the healthcare sector. We could start a whole new series, the “True” Stuff about Healthcare, with Molly True.

Molly True: Great. Thanks so much.

Fletch: Great. We’re talking with Molly True who is the Healthcare Marketing Manager here at Avaya talking about HIMSS.

Want more technology, news and information from Avaya? Be sure to check out the Avaya Podcast Network landing page at http://avaya.com/APN. There, you will find additional podcasts from industry events, such as Avaya Evolutions and INTEROP, as well as other informative series by the APN staff.

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