Home > Articles > The Doctor Will See You Now: Transforming Healthcare with IP Video

The Doctor Will See You Now: Transforming Healthcare with IP Video

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Cisco Press.
  • Date: Mar 19, 2009.

Chapter Description

Learn how healthcare organizations are using video to build and extend medical expertise, improve staff communications and collaboration, transform patient care, lower the cost of care, and improve patient experience with new, innovative services.

The Technology Transforming Healthcare

Technology has always played a strong role in healthcare. From X-ray machines to pacemakers to MRIs, technology has helped to diagnose, treat, and heal. Its use has expanded from purely medical applications to supportive roles in staff communications, digitizing and storing of patient records, and the processing of pharmaceutical orders. A natural extension is for technology to be applied in ways that enable telemedicine treatment (sometimes called telehealth) and remote patient monitoring using audio and video capabilities, including videoconferencing, store-and-forward imaging, streaming video, and wireless video communications. From clinics to doctors' offices to hospital operating rooms (see Figure 12-1), video is becoming as much a part of medical care as stethoscopes. Let's take a look at how we got to this point.

Figure 12-1

Figure 12-1 Physician Using Video Consultation During a Surgical Procedure

The earliest recorded use of telemedicine was a 1950s Nebraska project using closed-circuit television to provide mental health services from a university medical center to a state hospital 100 miles (160 km) away. Then, in the early 1960s, the NASA space flight telemedicine program began so that medical personnel on the ground could monitor astronauts' biomedical responses to space flight.

These elaborate deployments are, of course, unique. Because of the expense of equipment and lack of available high bandwidth for video, it is really only within the past 15 years that telemedicine has become more widely available. The most common method for remote clinical diagnosis uses desktop, room, and portable videoconferencing units. Video telemedicine has been practiced most often in underserved rural areas or in situations where patient transport poses a hazard. In the case of the former, a rural doctor or nurse typically consults with a specialist physician based at a metropolitan or university hospital. Using videoconferencing technology and specially adapted medical tools, the remote doctor can see the patient, talk with the local healthcare practitioner, hear a heartbeat through a remote stethoscope, see images from ear/nose/throat exams, or examine skin conditions. Although enormously beneficial, this application has typically required leased T1 telephone or ISDN lines, which can be prohibitively expensive. In addition, telemedicine services were not always covered by patient insurance plans, further limiting early adoption. However, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and Benefits Improvement Act of 2000 finally made telemedicine eligible for coverage by Medicare payments, enabling many citizens in rural areas to receive video medical treatments of all types.

Because of a number of issues (legal, cost, patient/physician acceptance of the technology, payment issues), the most common use of video telemedicine has actually been to provide healthcare to prison populations. Prisoners have a legal right to medical treatment, but the cost and danger of transporting them to a medical facility is extremely high, because at least two guards and possibly an ambulance are required for transport. However, the high risk factor more than cost-justified using telemedicine in many states and paved the way for its use by other organizations.

Now that we have a better appreciation for video's past role in healthcare, let's take a look at how it is being used today. The first step toward the use of video in many medical environments has been to accommodate for digital video imaging (sometimes known as picture archiving and communications system, or PACS) and record storage. This typically requires a network and bandwidth upgrade to support the volume of information being transferred and stored. The offshoot for organizations who have done this is that they can now support full motion video for telemedicine and related applications. These new capabilities have a significant impact on the quality of patient care, allow staff to collaborate and communicate differently, help organizations to build and extend expertise, offer new services to patients and their families, and lower the cost of care. The ten case studies that follow provide real-world examples of the many innovative uses for video in healthcare today. Let's start with two that impact the medical staff directly.

3. Building Expertise and Boosting Communication: Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services | Next Section Previous Section

Cisco Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Cisco Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Cisco Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@ciscopress.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Cisco Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.ciscopress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020