Live Streaming Video for Healthcare?

Geniuses can be found in many flavors, Baskin-Robbins brilliance for every day of the month, especially in digital. Bill Gates, for example, is a world class poker player style of wunderkind, a savant at sizing up his opponents and taking every advantage of their weaknesses; Steve Jobs was an arrogant visionary, seeing the future but blind to the feelings of those around him; while Mark Zuckerberg remains a “gee whiz†kind of genius, more awkward than adversarial, seemingly stumbling from bunk bed to billionaire, as if he rarely understands the full implications of his ideas, most of them changing the world.

Case in point, Facebook live streaming video: Necessary and inevitable for many strategic reasons, the functionality is the perfect storm of user-generated content, multimedia, and immediate social impact. Elevating the capabilities of Meerkat, Periscope, and a few others by embedding the service within the planet’s largest social network, Zuckerberg presented the platform on April 6 as a deeply personal channel designed to share life’s simple pleasures: getting a haircut, going skiing with your kids, filming baby birds at the zoo. “Everyone is tuned in, watching these cute bald eagles, wondering what’s going to happen.â€

Well what happened on July 6 was the immediate aftermath of the police shooting of Philando Castile, whose violent death was captured and narrated from the drivers’ seat by his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, after simply tapping “Go Live†from her Facebook app. Watched by more than 5 million people within 24 hours of posting, the shocking video was quickly accompanied the very next day by the live streaming of an attack that killed eleven police officers in Dallas. So much for Facebook trying to shift their newsfeed focus away from the media to “friends and familyâ€â€”the functionality itself making front page news.

For years, more and more people have gotten their news through social media, precipitating a “Newsgate†scandal when Facebook employees revealed they routinely suppressed conservative articles. The incredible influence of social media on public opinion and even voting behavior is increasingly apparent, social networks connecting communities of mostly like-minded people whose opinions can reverberate through echo chambers to a fever pitch. So adding live streaming video into the mix exponentially exacerbates the good and the bad aspects of these networks, sharing information and misinformation with equal bravado.


“Go Live Healthcareâ€

How Zuckerberg will handle the unexpected implications of what he’s unleashed remains to be seen. Fundamental to that answer will be the role Facebook plays as an iReporter-style news source, and the network’s ability and willingness to curate and even censor live streaming video in the manner they already do other forms on content. What’s interesting and somewhat ironic from a healthcare marketer’s point of view is how highly personal multimedia content is now—thanks to the impressive technological capability and unprecedented reach of Facebook Live—becoming as challenging as regulated information.

Telemedicine originally used teleconferencing capability to connect healthcare professionals and patients in rural areas, where direct point of care experiences were difficult to orchestrate. As digital technology and user habits have evolved, the use of live streaming video has exponentially increased, with over 800,000 virtual consultations taking place in 2015, and a global market valued at more than $17 billion. Compellingly, nearly half of patients surveyed have said the use of telemedicine improved their overall care, while hospitals reduced readmissions and saved billions by implementing the service.

As for any distribution channel that transmits personal healthcare information, every telemedicine channel must be HIPAA compliant. Another constraint is telemedicine regulations, which are in constant flux due to medical associations such as the FSMB and AMA developing basic guidelines alongside each American state, which sets its own policies. The complexities further exacerbate reimbursement rules for Medicaid and private payers, in turn precipitating a mountain of pending legislation at the federal and state levels. Despite these obstacles engagement remains high and is steadily rising, boding well for its future.

The best telemedicine apps of 2016 compliantly and securely connect patients with physicians and specialists, and represent a tiny fraction of the telemedicine app universe covering disciplines and functionality from radiology to oncology, pharmacy to managed care, hosted on platforms from iOS to Android. The astonishing array begs the question of standardization, simplification, enhanced functionality, and broader systems integration—but the good news is the services are surging despite ongoing questions of value. Short of an actual point of care experience, virtual consults through streaming video remain powerful.


Full Downstream Circle

The exponentially increasing embrace of live social video will likely fuel the enthusiasm for telemedicine, the two worlds eventually finding their own balance between security, convenience, and utility. Just as Zuckerberg with all his geekish wonder recognized early on the game-changing power of social, (slightly belatedly) adapted it for mobile, shifted focus to multimedia, and most recently went all-in on live streaming video, healthcare experts envision a comprehensive and fully immersive telemedicine future. Along the way consumers will continue to demand immediacy and access across every aspect of their lives.

At Klick Health we inoculate our clients against the status quo by live streaming the future, today. Our Klick Labs team experiments and prototypes applications ranging from virtual reality to remote sensing to geolocation and biometrics. Meanwhile our cross-disciplinary experts work together to ensure we bring the creativity, data, and technology necessary to ensure our tactics remain strategically on point for your brands. Front page news has collided with the doctor’s office, redefining media and medicine—and Klick is eager to help keep you informed and safe while boldly experimenting on the cutting edge.