In 2008, I was serving as Chief Product Officer for a company started by some Stanford University graduates to address a need they saw for a video communication product that was as inexpensive and as easy to use as consumer products like Skype but that had enterprise-level collaboration tools and military-grade security. The initial markets for this new company’s products were users throughout the intelligence community, the military, and other government organizations. With the government market now firmly established, I began looking for commercial market opportunities, and to that end, I began analyzing the database of more than 5,000 businesses that had downloaded the free trial product from the company’s website. One thing that intrigued me was the number of users in healthcare who had downloaded and were using our product. When I called many of these users to inquire how they were utilizing our product, I found they were looking for an easy and low-cost way to communicate with their patients wherever they were, an application that is an aspect of telemedicine.
The term telemedicine can be used to describe any kind of healthcare delivered at a distance using a communication media such as remote data monitoring, store-and-forward transmission of images, or interactive video. Until recently, the specialized equipment and expensive network infrastructure required by video made it impractical unless the patient was a great distance from the doctor. It’s no surprise that some of the most extensive implementations were in places where the population was dispersed over a vast distance, such as Nebraska or Northern Ontario. Still, a number of the healthcare professionals I talked to felt that the real benefits of video were yet to be realized. If the cost and complexity could be brought down, there was a much larger population of patients who may not need to travel long distances but still could be better served if they could avoid traveling. These patients were in local community hospitals, rehab facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or in their own homes.
However, after much additional interaction with a variety of forward-thinking healthcare professionals using our televideo platform, we learned that simply reducing the cost and complexity of televideo technologies did not solve the larger problem of how to utilize these technologies seamlessly in existing IT and clinical processes. In effect, we discovered something that proved to be true throughout healthcare: The success of any technology depends only 10% on the technology itself and 90% on how that technology is integrated with the organization’s workflow and protocols. It isn’t that the healthcare community is crying out for more, cheaper technology, but that it needs solutions to facilitate the delivery of care in a more efficient and effective manner.
Out of this discovery, SBR Health was born. We exist not to create televideo products; rather we strive to create healthcare solutions that are video-enabled.