Clinical e-Health Services, for example, operates a network of systems that allows Keldie and his team of clinicians to communicate with one another; they can also provide both specialty and primary care to consumers without having to spend time and money on travel. "You have a growing need in these facilities for more fundamental medicine, such as managing diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. Our telemedicine network allows us to leverage a pool of primary clinicians to provide care without forcing those physicians to physically commute to that location."
Clinical e-Health Solutions' dispersed team of clinicians are able to call one another via the network directly from their laptops or PCs. Within the medical care facilities, they use 17-inch LCD monitors -- which can double as PC displays -- for video calls.
Eliminating that commute has helped ASG and Clinical e-Health Solutions cut operating costs. "In the past three to five years, we've realized savings that exceed six figures," says Keldie. "Our Polycom system leverages our clinicians' time and expertise every time we use them."
Widening the hiring net
Yet another application for telepresence: hiring far-flung talent. After a 2006 merger of three companies, One Communications, a CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) found itself with two headquarters -- one in Waltham, Mass., and one in Rochester, N.Y. -- as well as executives split up among several locations throughout the country.
The company found that it could use telepresence to make hiring new employees more efficient and less costly. Companies often don't want to limit themselves to hiring from a local pool of talent. When you cast your net further, you do have the option of conducting interviews over the telephone. That approach, however, is limiting in that the hiring manager can't observe the potential employee's body language, critical to evaluating a person's character. A common alternative, therefore, is to fly in candidates for a face-to-face interview, which can be expensive and time-consuming.
One Communications embraced its existing Tandberg telepresence systems to improve the hiring process. The company has several such telepresence systems, connecting offices in locations such as Waltham, Rochester, and Green Bay, Wis. It also has many desktop high-definition video units in the offices of its executives.
Executives are able to conduct interviews on large HD plasma screens, enabling them to clearly read body language during interviews and evaluate a candidate's character. When they ask tough questions, they can assess the candidate's reaction.