A surgical procedure is broadcast to medical staff and students to engage in real-time education.
A first responder at Everest base camp uses streaming to consult remote doctors.
Twenty million endoscopies are performed annually in the United States.
These are just a few examples of how healthcare innovators use live streaming to improve medical outcomes and push the industry forward.
The disruptive force of streaming technology in Medicine
Live streaming technology is revolutionizing how clinicians treat their patients and train the next generation of doctors. The benefits are far-reaching:
- Streaming can bring the expertise of remote doctors to every corner of the world. Imagine relying on a leading London-based neonatologist to treat a premature baby born four months early in rural India.
- Streaming technology delivers 360-degree insight into internal ailments. Medical professionals use video-enabled devices to remove polyps, examine chronic irritation causes, perform robotic surgeries, and make successful diagnoses.
- Streaming has even found its way into education and awareness. Two doctors teamed up to live stream a colonoscopy in 2016 to demystify the procedure. They leveraged video as a form of outreach to show reluctant patients how undergoing regular exams can easily prevent the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. Medical students are another typical audience for such broadcasts. And because streaming supports live video delivery worldwide, it ensures that our global healthcare community stays on the most cutting-edge training and procedures.
Increasing requirements for healthcare streaming
What exactly is required to make live streaming in healthcare successful?
- Quality and low latency, first of all. Successfully performing a coronary bypass would be near-impossible with a grainy display or significant lag.
- Reliability and security are also must-haves. In the age of HIPAA, video-assisted surgery wouldn’t happen without bulletproof protection of such data.
- Finally, when it comes to education and training, global scalability plays a significant role.
Hospitals are equipping operating rooms with integrated streaming technology to improve surgical outcomes and patient care. From laparoscopies and endoscopies to robotic surgery, streaming allows doctors to perform minimally invasive operations that reduce patient recovery time. Doctors can leverage 3D high-definition cameras to perform surgeries efficiently. Plus, by controlling robotic arms, surgeons benefit from a clearer view of the operation and less fatigue.
Streaming in Education
Accessibility and affordability have been the driving forces behind streaming medical education. Video has always been instrumental in the industry, but live streaming means businesses don’t necessarily have to hire film crews or broadcasters. It makes it easier and more affordable to educate new doctors. Furthermore, simulations and remote consultations can use this technology.
Innovation means using video in new ways. Many organizations have capitalized on streaming technology to extend medical expertise to rural areas.
As one heartstring-pulling example, Child Health Imprints built streaming into an internet of things (IoT)-enabled device for neonates. The cloud-hosted appliance assimilates real-time data from biomedical devices used to monitor preterm infants — including ventilators, monitors, and blood gas analyzers. In addition to reducing time-to-treatment and improving the quality of care, the product enables remote monitoring of neonates in rural regions via video streaming. Streaming also powers virtual doctor visits, where a patient can videoconference a doctor rather than physically traveling to an office.
What’s Next for Streaming in Healthcare
With wearables taking over healthcare, we’d bet that video and IoT collide to produce streaming-enabled wearable devices. This combo allows users not only to video chat with a doctor on the go and enable the sharing of real-time health metrics such as blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and more.
It is fair to say that live streaming is democratizing Medicine. Doctors-in-training worldwide can access the educational streams of experts in their field. People needing medical attention are no longer limited to the practitioners in their neck of the woods. Telehealth promised to make the industry more cost-effective — not to mention convenient. And 5G will extend these capabilities beyond just the home to include mobile users without a Wi-Fi connection.