The word is one the health care industry has tried to avoid, blaming the silos, the “stay in your lane” mentality, for having the most negative effects on the health care system in the past.
But, with more collaboration and partnerships becoming the new trend, one 32-year-old telecommunications company is leveraging its experience with the needs of the new-age customers.
Bin Guan, chief technology officer of Eatontown-headquartered Yorktel, said the company is rapidly expanding into the health care space.
But Guan said New Jersey has been slow to adopt telehealth, and has only just begun.
Yorktel is also playing on a global level, creating relationships for entities like Emory Healthcare with hospitals in Australia and Japan, as well as providing services to Mercy Healthcare and Banner Healthcare.
The key, Yorktel knows from its other service lines, is to ensure users will embrace the technology and want to use it daily for their job.
That’s what the telehealth product, Univago Healthcare Edition, which was publicly launched in September, offers, he said.
It’s got a camera that can be remotely controlled to zoom up to 15 feet, in order to read charts or pill bottles; night vision for low-light situations; translation services for patients who don’t speak English; and remote visits for family and friends to link into the camera feed, according to Guan.
To comply with patient privacy laws, none of it is stored.
While some providers have been creating in-house telehealth platforms, or partnering with other companies to develop what they need, Yorktel sees the best route to growth as attaching itself to electronic health records.
EHR giants like Epic, or even some of the major electronic companies that are already providing services and equipment in health care, such as Philips, would be the best marketing agents — because, even if they do have a presence in telehealth, it’s not as robust as Yorktel, Guan said.
“We see, not a lot of competition, to be honest,” he said. “It’s very expensive equipment, some only do one piece, they do one thing. Not like Yorktel, we are unique. (The partnership) provides revenue for the EHR system and allows the provider to get a more broader customer base.”
In addition to all the specs of the Univago platform, its single point of interaction, or, as Guan explained, its silo of options, makes it easier for patients to use as well. For example, because there is a screen on it, and it connects to the internet for services, patients can access the web or watch Netflix from it. It serves everyone.
Yorktel is known for its audio, video, web and cloud services for the federal government, as well as the finance and retail industries. As a provider of collaborative and conferencing services, it began to dabble in health care about five years ago, according to Guan.
That’s when the company realized there was a huge market opportunity in health care.
It already had the technical expertise needed, it just had to learn the needs of the industry.
“Telehealth has been growing in the last five years,” Guan said. “All over the globe, not just in the U.S.
“We see a lot of demand for the features, and we need time and reinvestment to redo this.”
Health care revenue is about 17 percent of Yorktel’s total revenue, and millions of dollars are invested on an annual basis, according to Guan.
The current market size in the U.S. includes more than 100,000 intensive care unit beds, and almost 1 million inpatient beds.
Guan said that’s a huge market. Some hospital CEOs want to see a system in every bed, while others are still sticking just to the ICU — but the key is, they want all the features in one place.
There are a number of companies that offer the services Yorktel does — such as telehealth, or translation services — but they only offer those things, so the company sees an opportunity to be everything in one place and help hospitals save money.
“They want convenience at a low cost,” he said. “There’s a huge market for us to do this.”