As Microsoft works to convince corporate IT that the underlying VoIP technology in its Lync unified communications platform has the chops to support the slew of applications the Redmond giant has built on top of it, there's no shortage of smaller-scale customers deploying it for interesting uses.
As Microsoft works to convince corporate IT that the underlying VoIP technology in its Lync Unified Communications platform has the chops to support the slew of applications the Redmond giant has built on top of it, there's no shortage of smaller-scale customers deploying it for interesting uses.
Take telemedicine in North Texas, for example.
US Medical IT is an IT project management firm that helps medical practices implement technology such as electronic medical records and telemedicine services. Managing Partner of US Medical IT Stephen Cracknell recommended Office 365 and its accompanying UCaaS underpinnings to the doctors of Dallas Neurosurgical & Spine (DNS).
The doctors were looking for a better way to share high-fidelity images (which Office 365 supports) with other specialists, as well as with patients' primary care doctors, and were interested in using telemedicine to give follow-up care to patients in rural areas who are recovering from surgery.
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US Medical IT constructed the solution by using off-the-shelf hardware, including a high-end IP security camera from Axis Communications. With the security camera, DNS specialists can use a joystick to control the field of view in the exam room, which is physically located more than 100 miles away from the team's Dallas office. DNS operates two more telemedicine outposts in Peru and Saudi Arabia using a similar configuration.
With this setup, the specialist can view and manipulate MRI images on the remote computer and use the camera to conduct physical examinations while discussing the observations with the patient or the remote physician.
To use the system, the local physician schedules a consultation with the specialist, and the patient brings the MRI images to the local office. Both the specialist and the local physician log on to their Lync Online accounts, which are provisioned by US Medical IT. The local physician can then simply share the desktop and allow the specialist to manipulate the patient's MRI images, while simultaneously sharing high-definition video through the IP camera. All communication happens over a secure line to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
According to Cracknell, the only technological hurdle DNS had to overcome was making sure there was enough bandwidth available at the outposts so that the high-density images could be shared.