Physicians rely heavily on what they can see to diagnose and treat the patients in their care. From inspecting a wound, to studying X-ray imagery, to watching someone react to different stimuli in a physical examination, doctors use visual examinations as a critical component in understanding the state of a patient’s health.
Today, physicians also rely on being able to communicate and exchange visual information, even when a patient or a colleague isn’t physically present. High-speed broadband and Ethernet-based networks support easy sharing of large medical image files and video conferencing for remote healthcare visits and virtual collaboration. As in so many industries, broadband has been transformative in healthcare. Visual media – high-resolution imagery and video – have become fundamental tools in the evolving medical field.
In the US, cable companies are the primary source of residential high-speed broadband connections, and, after delivering TV for more than half a century, cable operators are also experts in delivering video. This expertise extends not only to homes across the country, but also to businesses, including healthcare facilities nationwide.
Consider these examples:
- Charter Communications recently worked with Oregon Health Network to complete an 87-mile fiber network running from Grants Pass, Oregon to Crescent City, California. This broadband pipeline will allow technicians to send a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) X-ray from Oregon to Sutter Coast hospital in Crescent City in less than a second.
- A rural health clinic in Oklahoma uses cable services from Cox Communications to support videoconferencing with health specialists in Oklahoma City. A stroke victim became the first patient to benefit from the system after it was installed in 2009.
- Time Warner Cable has begun to deliver video offerings to healthcare facilities, including access to training and patient education through its video-on-demand service, indicating that there is growing demand for healthcare-specific video delivery.
As the medical industry increasingly depends not only on broadband, but also on high-resolution imagery and video, cable companies will become more important allies in patient care. The trend has begun, and is guaranteed to accelerate in the months and years ahead.