Unfortunately, there is a multitude of pieces that must fall into place for a telemedicine deployment to work. The network, the firewall, the bandwidth, the signal strength, the connectivity, the hardware and software components, and the medical devices all need to work—and work together. When a telemedicine cart goes down, it is hard to know where to start troubleshooting the problem. Lack of reliable equipment and connectivity is probably the greatest impediment to successful telemedicine deployments. If the cart is down, the clinical staff stops using telemedicine and is reluctant to try it again. A VNOC (Video Network Operations Center) provider can avoid this problem by managing the entire system, including:
- Proactive monitoring and 24/7 real-time support. A good VNOC can proactively monitor a telemedicine network, providing diagnostic analysis at regular intervals, catching problems and resolving them before a telemedicine encounter even starts.
- Instant triage support. If a problem occurs during a patient encounter, the VNOC can rapidly triage the situation with a complete view and understanding of all the various components of the telemedicine network and equipment. Most problems can be solved remotely by a full-service VNOC provider’s helpdesk, and within minutes the telemedicine encounter and clinical workflow can be reestablished.
- Peace of mind. When the situation involves a failed component, a good VNOC provider has comprehensive service-level agreements in place to fix or replace the failed component within minutes in emergencies or the next calendar day in non-emergency situations.