This Month In Telemedicine

What’s New with ATA

  • Webinar hosted by Institutional Council – Today, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT – on Internal Awareness and Adoption
  • Webinar hosted by the ATA Policy team – Thursday, August 28th from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT – on Trends for Telemedicine Policy and Winning Tactics
  • ATA Fall Forum – September 7-9 2014, JW Marriot Desert Springs Resort: Some of the sessions include validated research on products and projects showing effectiveness in the areas of price reduction, quality and access.
  • ATA annual meeting is May 3-5, deadline for the call for presentations is September 15th

The American Telemedicine Association paid special attention to U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker for their effort to improve telemedicine coverage under Medicaid, Medicare and FCC programs.

Congress:

  • On July 24th, the S.2662; The Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2014 was introduced.  In short, this bill was created to promote and expand the use of Telehealth under Medicare and other Federal health care programs.
  • On July 31st, the H.R. 5380; Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2014 was introduced.  This bill creates a phased approach over a four year period, to expand coverage of telemedicine services.  H.R. 5380 is aimed at removing arbitrary barriers that limit services for Medicare beneficiaries, some of these barriers include geographic restrictions to patient care and the addition of coverage for services located at home and in retail and walk-in clinics.

State:

  • New Jersey’s Legislator Shirley Turner introduced bills S 2337 and S 2338, these bills prohibit health insurance plans from requiring in person contact before a telemedicine encounter as a condition of payment.
  • Last year Indiana Medicaid enacted Telemedicine Law; recently they have released the new proposed rules to implement the law.  The laws propose the agency establish reimbursement terms for home, remote patient monitoring, and allow reimbursement from telemedicine providers such as FQHC’s, CMHC’s, RHC’s and CAHs.  Lastly, the law proposes an adjustment of the mile requirements as a condition of payment.  The public hearing will be held on August 28th, at 9 a.m.

The Life Cycle of an Audio Visual Implementation

Audio visual (AV) integration creates a meeting space that facilitates collaboration and interactivity among participants. The seamless combination of different AV technologies and tools provides an environment customized for effective brainstorming and sharing ideas; thereby enhancing creativity and decision making. As a result, many organizations are opting to install AV rooms to help drive innovation.

The plethora of decisions, including technology and room layouts, that are involved with integrating a room can be challenging for organizations that are investing in AV integration for the first time. To help make the decision making easier, check out our infographic where we have outlined the five different stages of fully integrating a conference room: customer requirements, design, implementation and project management, programming, and quality assurance/closeout.
AV-Life-Cycle-Infographic

This Week In Collaboration

Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration.

Collaboration Tools – Purpose-Built or Integrated, What’s Best?
Virtual collaboration is only as good as the tools used.  Originally achieved over stand-alone applications such as conference calls and messaging, we now see virtual collaborative tools integrated into other applications.  There are pros and cons to each approach; the question is really which one is better for your environment.

Avoiding the Four Major Mistakes of Video Conferencing
Video conferencing has changed the way we collaborate, with that said; make your meetings memorable, for the right reasons.  Remember to turn off applications not to be shared on your desktop, as well as a mirror check to put your best face forward.  Check out the humorous video for other video conferencing faux pas.

Reflections on Mobility and Collaboration
Many organizations struggle with effectively managing remote employees, and providing them with the right tools for productive collaboration.  Prior to selecting tool sets, it is crucial to define the requirements or use cases, as well as the IT support requirement.   Consider defining the business process, management tools, and collaboration features that will gain traction.

How To Destroy Your Video Strategy In One Step
With viewers of online video expected to double by 2016, the importance of online video for business is crucial.  Don’t miss out on the mobile market, videos should be created with mobile capabilities, as well as collaboration features to share, chat and link content.  Be sure to provide a call to action (CTA) for viewers to share their thoughts with the subject expert.

Collaborative Decision Environments Unleash Innovation in Manufacturing
Collaborative Decision Environments (CDEs) integrate audio, video and content sharing technologies through business processes; such as marketing through factory operations.   The CDE consists of a complete suite of collaborative tools, with features like virtual meeting rooms, live chats, data analysis, meeting recording, and document automation capabilities.

What To Look For When Choosing An Interactive Whiteboard

Interactive whiteboards have become increasingly popular over the last few years, and the technology behind these tools continues to evolve. For some who may be unfamiliar with interactive whiteboards, they come in several flavours.  They can be a large whiteboard that is connected to a computer and a projector. The projector casts the computer’s desktop on to the display where the user can then control the computer using a pen, finger, stylus, or other specialized writing device. In other cases the whiteboard technology is built into a flat panel display, generally up to 70 or 80 inches. Users interact directly on the screen with touch or a stylus. Finally, it is possible to outfit an existing display with an overlay device that enables the whiteboard functionality.

There are several important aspects to consider when implementing an interactive whiteboard system in to your boardroom or classroom.

Size & Shape Of The Screen
The size of the whiteboard is one of the most important specifications to look in to when evaluating different options. The size of room and the size of the whiteboard are important for determining how it will be used in the classroom or boardroom. You should ensure that you get a whiteboard large enough for people in the back of the room to be able to see easily. For example, a smaller board will not work well in a larger conference room, especially if it will be used for text heavy documents.

With regards to aspect ratio, or “shape” of the whiteboard, most choose between 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio. 16:9 is a wide screen aspect and is becoming increasingly more popular because of laptop screens and projectors having screens of this aspect ratio becoming more common. Some also feel the 16:9 is more similar seeming to a traditional whiteboard.

Software Package
Another very important consideration when choosing an interactive whiteboard is what software comes with it.  Many options include some sort of software application and depending on how the board will be used, it is important to pay attention to what this software can do to ensure that it will meet your needs. Some software applications will have more features and tools, so looking in to the ease of use of these tools is another important consideration. You also need to make sure that the whiteboard any software that comes along with it is compatible with your computers operating system

Active Screen Area
When looking at different interactive whiteboard options it is important to understand pay attention to the active screen areas vs. inactive screen areas. The active areas is the part of the screen that can be used as touch screen and for other interactions. This can dramatically vary on different types of interactive whiteboards. For example, some are able to fill the entire screen with the desktop image, whereas others will limit the area that is able to be active.

Cabling and Connections
It is important to look in to what kind of connections and power requirements that your whiteboard will need. You also want to check how the whiteboard is powered and what accessories can be used with it. This often includes needing a computer that can be hooked up to it and an internet connection. Determine what cables are necessary for powering the board, connecting the computer, connecting it to the internet and any other connections necessary. Some interactive whiteboards have Bluetooth connectivity, which can drastically reduce the number of cables that are necessary.

Type Of Technology
Different interactive whiteboards use different technology in order to be used as touch screen. This can often be up to personal preference but it is important to understand the differences between these different types of  technology in order to understand how it affects how the whiteboard will be used.

The two types of technology used are often resistive and electromagnetic technology. Resistive uses an interactive whiteboard with a plastic front sheet and hard backboard. The front of backboard and the back of plastic sheet are covered with layer of resistive film, with the film separated by an air gap. When pressure is applied to the front sheet, it closes the air gap and registers a point of contact and it responds accordingly. This can be done with finger or a stylus. Electromagnetic technology relies a lot more on the tool used to write on the board. The pen tool contains a transponder that gives out an electronic signal and the signal tells the computer the coordinates of the pen or stylus. Since this relies on the transmit signal, you are not able to use your finger to control the board.

Interactive whiteboards have potential to be a great tool in both boardrooms and classrooms. They give the ability to share information, concepts and brainstorm ideas by taking collaboration to the next level. They can increase engagement, accommodate different learning styles, and help provide intuitive interactions. Similarly, most interactive whiteboards can also fully integrate in your current audio-visual environment.

Is COPE the Answer to BYOD Concerns?

BYOD is a concept that exploded over the last 5 years with the consumerization of IT and the advancement of mobility strategies. Although employees quickly embraced the trend of being able to bring their own devices in to the workplace, IT quickly realized the implications and challenges of securing data and managing all these different devices. The answer to these concerns may be a shift to the mobility policy COPE; corporately owned personally enabled.

What is COPE?
It is often a compromise between security and control for IT and freedom and mobility for employees. When utilizing COPE, IT fully manages and controls the device but employees are able to install apps for their own personal use as well. For many organizations, this is a more manageable alternative to the BYOD trend where employees use their own smartphones and tablets to connect to a secure corporate network in the workplace. In order to determine which policy is better for your organization, here is some more information about COPE, and some of the pro’s and con’s of this type of mobile policy.

Is COPE more secure than BYOD?
COPE gives organizations more control over device policies and can wipe a phone clean if stolen. IT teams can also conduct automatic checks to watch for malware or other viruses.  Organizations can also install management software on the devices that help them to maintain security. However, as with BYOD there are still security risks when implementing a COPE policy.

COPE Pros

  • Legal: By utilizing a COPE policy, organizations have the right and authorization to pull data from a device if its misused and able to wipe a device easily if it is stolen or when the employee leaves the company.
  • Cost Savings: COPE allows organizations to control costs by taking advantage of corporate discounts for mobile plans and the ability to buy devices in bulk, which can offer sizeable concessions. 
  • Control: COPE gives an organization the ability to control which carriers and devices will be allowed on their network. This creates an easier job for IT by keeping the number of devices and carriers to a select few, minimizing the need to manage and control a wide variety of devices and services, which can make enforcing compliance and data security very difficult.

COPE Cons

  • Security: Although COPE can reduce security concerns, it does not rid all of the concerns that BYOD policies deal with.  Users can still get malware viruses from outside networks and that presents a risk when subsequently accessing a corporate network. This is why implementing a mobile device management service is very important.
  • Employee Satisfaction: Many employees would like to be able to choose their own preferred mobile devices and tablets. Therefore, if an organization does not offer that preferred type of device, it can frustrate employees.
  • Employee Control: There is a still a grey area of what control an employee has over their device when it comes to their personal apps. Many will ask if a company has the right to access passwords on app such as social networking sites or other personal accounts. Therefore, with COPE, an employees expectation of privacy is often questioned.

This Week In Collaboration

Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration.

Video Conferencing in the Cloud
Over the years, the business industry has adopted video conferencing as a viable and efficient means of communication-B2B and otherwise. There are a number of advantages that are apparent, but one of the foremost benefits of video conferencing is the reduced “face-to-face” time needed to travel and meet with prospective clients. Aside from that, adopting a cloud-based video conferencing can also trigger an increase in employee productivity, as well as create a portal for global communication.

How the Cloud has Revolutionized Video Conferencing for Business
Video conferencing is one of the best communication tools developed to date; it could be argued that the only form of communication that is better than video conferencing is talking to a person face-to-face. Video conferencing allows people to interact with one another no matter the distance between them; a person in Japan can easily talk face-to-face to someone in Canada easily through the virtual environment provided via video conferencing and the Internet.

4 Tips for Keeping It Real When Your Global Team Telecommutes
Perhaps the scarcest resource we all have to manage is our own attention, and it’s a simple truth that if people are not physically near each other, it’s easier for minds to wander. When minds wander, key pieces of the discussion can become less clear and plans can lose momentum. But hard does not equal impossible if you invest some time to organize things in a smart way.

The Rise of the Business Consumer Means IT Must Adapt
According to Gartner, Inc., IT leaders now have an unprecedented opportunity to help shape the working environment of a company due to the rise in the ‘business consumer’. Whilst once business and consumer technologies tended to be separate, these days people tend to take work home with them and consumer devices are increasingly encroaching on the workplace.

The Current State of Audiovisual Technology in Higher Education
Technology in education has a very high adoption rate. Audiovisual technologies, as well as other classroom enhancing technological initiatives, such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), are literally changing the landscape for professors and administrators at colleges and universities around the country. For the sake of this article, however, we’ll limit the discussion to what currently works and what doesn’t work in higher education audiovisual technology.

How Important Is Your Body Language On A Video Call?

Communication goes much farther than just speaking and words. Body language has always been important in business when trying to establish credibility and convey the right message. On average, you only have 7 seconds to make a good first impression and create initial trust. Although many people pay attention to body language when speaking to someone in-person, they often forget how important these non-verbal cues are when using video conferencing. Body language & other non-verbal cues can have a dynamic impact on the message being conveyed, and it is very important that your body language reinforces your message as opposed to taking away from it when conducting conversations via video.

Here are some important tips for improving your body language on your next video conferencing call.

Look in to the camera.
Make sure you are looking at the lens or right below it in order to mimic “eye contact”. Maintaining eye contact is very important for holding someone’s attention and showing interest, sincerity and confidence during a conversation. When you are not in the same room with someone, it is much easier to get distracted and look away. Therefore, to ensure that you are maintaining engagement and  eye contact, shut down any other programs on your computer and ensure you are in a place with as few distractions as possible.

Back up a little
You do not want to be just a talking head. Displaying hand gestures and movement is an important aspect of non-verbal communication. Prior to your next video call, turn on the “self-view” mode to double check that you are situated appropriately in front of the camera and are not too close or far away. Open hands and hand movement shows interest in a conversation so allowing for your hands to be seen is also important in order to simulate the feeling of an in-person conversation.

Keep good posture
Maintain good posture just as you would if in an in-person meeting. Likewise, leaning forward slightly helps to convey interest and engagement. People often lean back during video calls if they are comfortable which can portray dis-engagement and a lack of interest. Maintaining an upright posture and limiting your head movements helps you to stay in the camera view appropriately and demonstrates that you are alert and focused on the conversation at hand.

Be careful of facial gestures
Smiling when you speak can not only help individuals focus on you and the message you are trying to convey, but it also helps project friendliness and acceptance. On the other hand, a furrowed brow can portray disagreement, tension, and can create an uncomfortable environment for others. One the considerable benefits of video conferencing as opposed to audio calls is this ability to examine facial expressions. Therefore, you need to make sure you are sending the correct message to them. An effective way to ensure you are monitoring these expressions is to again turn on the “self view” setting on your camera so that you can take a look at yourself from time to time and make sure you are not accidentally making unfavorable gestures.

Meet the New IVCi.com

For the last year we have been working around the clock with the amazing Ranx Media to re-create our website site from the ground up. It was a major undertaking but we couldn’t be any prouder of the end product. So without further ado….Welcome to the new IVCi!!

We have redesigned our layout with style, ease of use and content delivery in mind. However, the re-build went deeper than that. We have created a site that is focused on being a resource and a guide for people exploring or learning about collaboration technology.

Besides the pretty new layout, here are some of the changes that we are particularly proud of:

Glossary:
Often when people are exploring a technology, they are unfamiliar with specific terms and topics. Therefore, a very important aspect of IVCi’s new site is the glossary. We have compiled a list of frequently used terms and definitions to help new and existing technology users to understand the key terms they may hear when discussing these technologies.

More informational content:
IVCi’s new site features a bunch of new content, inspired by our experience and created with education in mind. This content includes, how-to guides, white papers, data sheets, brochures, webinar recordings and an integrated blog that is focused on news, commentary, and insight around collaboration.

Categorical Improvements:
We have created the “Solutions” section on the site that is built with an emphasis on ease of navigation to help people find the information that they care about based on vertical and role.

Mobile friendly/Responsive design:
With this re-launch, IVCi’s new site is fully responsive. We know that many people are using their mobile devices and tablets more than ever, so it was very important for us to build a mobile friendly site.

We are very proud of this new site and we hope you take some time to look around. We can’t wait to hear what you think about it so please feel free to comment with any feedback you may have!

This Week in Collaboration

Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration. 

Seven tips for improving your remote meetings
The way teams work and collaborate is changing. Consulting, remote workforces and outsourcing are all on the rise. Even if you operate a team that is technically based in the same physical office, it’s becoming more and more common that your clients prefer to communicate in a virtual manner instead of in person due to time constraints. This article includes seven strategies and techniques that will make your next virtual meeting just as effective as its in-person counterpart.

How Video Conferencing is More Effective Than Shooting Business E-Mails
Talking to a co-worker or employee face-to-face is easy when you are all in the same building. However, when team members work remotely, it can be really difficult to create face-to-face meetings, so they often rely upon emailing and telephone calls. With video conferencing programs, you can virtually engage face-to-face with your team members to boost the productivity and efficiently of the team. You can even do so using your mobile phone while on the go.

What’s the future of healthcare? It’s collaboration
In the United States, healthcare providers are teaming up to provide coordinated and seamless patient care which reduces medical errors, and improves healthcare quality while lowering costs by avoiding unnecessary duplication of services. How can accountable organizations succeed both in delivering high-quality care and spending healthcare dollars more wisely, so that they can share in the savings they achieve for the Medicare program?

There’s still a security disconnect on BYOD
Corporate employees — and to a lesser extent IT managers — are taking a surprisingly lax approach towards security issues raised by the business use of personally owned smartphones and other mobiles devices, according to two surveys. Enterprise users were found to be deeply suspicious of any IT effort to implement security controls on their devices. In fact, many said they would choose not to bring personal devices to the workplace if employers planned to install security software on them.

Eight Classic Big Data Mistakes
Demand for big data analytics will only continue to soar as the overall market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27% through 2017, amounting to a $32.4 billion market, according to industry research. Yet, with all of the investments into analytics tools and talent, CIOs and other IT leaders can lose sight of what they’re ultimately seeking to do. Collecting lots of big data, after all, doesn’t amount to much if teams don’t know how to effectively mine and translate it.

Office Design Tips: Supporting Different Work Modes

In today’s fast-paced world with many different types of employees, an evolving work environment, and consistently increased demands, it is important to design an office that can maximize productivity and effectiveness. Creatively designed office spaces are able to provide the right environment that today’s employee’s need. For that to be accomplished office design should be centered around 3 important modes of work; collaboration, focus, and comfort. With these in mind, designers should create a space that caters to those needs and also allows employees to easily alternate between these work modes throughout the day.

We have included some specific aspects of office design that will help create a space that fosters collaboration, allows “head down” focus time, and cultivates a positive work environment.

Collaboration
There are a few design aspects and technology tools that can assist with fostering collaboration in a workplace. To start, many offices will design their space with an open floor plan. This normally means fewer walls and barriers to help facilitate impromptu conversations and interactions. Along with an open floor plan, it is also important to include plenty of common areas around the office. The goal with these being to give people a chance to leave their desks and work from other locales and to encourage interaction between employees.

Along with the ability to have spontaneous conversations, it is also important to include spaces where employees can have more structured meetings. Conference rooms and smaller huddle room spaces help to accomplish this type of collaboration. In addition, creating conference rooms that are video conferencing enabled, allows for employees to collaborate comfortably and conveniently with other employees or outside individuals, regardless of their location. The use of smart boards or other interactive whiteboards can also help foster collaboration by allowing people to brainstorm ideas and projects and then save or share the information instantly with anyone.

Focus:
Although collaboration is a very important aspect of any office environment, sometimes people need a space with fewer interruptions. Therefore, having “closed” spaces that employees can use to reduce distractions is very important. Offering these huddle rooms and other private spaces that allow people to get away and focus are very important in order to create a good balance in an open floor plan environment.

Companies can also use certain types of flooring and wall coverings to reduce ambient noise.  Similarly, some companies will offer noise-cancelling headphones that employees can use when they need to focus without the interruption of background noise.

Comfort:
Since most people spend the majority of their time at work, designing an open, friendly and comfortable office space not only helps improve collaboration but can also enhance creativity, improve employee morale and assist with recruiting great talent. In order to create this type of space, a company should consider aesthetics such as decoration and color palette, as well as availability of technology tools and layout of the space.

The aesthetics of the office space should reflect a company’s brand, culture, and personality. This could range from the overall color palette to the addition of games, trendy furniture and unique wall décor. When it comes to technology, equipping employees with the correct tools can drastically increase productivity. Likewise, providing up-to-date tools can help to attract the top talent. These tools can include software programs, a strong network, video conferencing equipment and the latest computers, tablets and mobile phones. An office layout needs to reflect the company’s work style and their employee’s unique needs. This should include aspects that cater to the multiple work modes that employees participate in every day.

When beginning an office design, it is very important for any organizations to analyze the different work modes and articulate what is important to the company in order to build the best space for their requirements. Implementing the right office environment can lead to effective collaboration, more creative ideas, and a more successful business.