In Italian it’s cancro.
In German, das Krebsgeschwür.
In Dutch, kanker.
And in English, it’s cancer.
Whatever language you speak, the very thought of cancer is absolutely terrifying. But they say the best way to tackle fear is to face it head-on. In the case of cancer that means prevention and early detection.
In the case of skin cancer that means getting as many expert eyes on as many people as possible. And that means turning the powerful 4K lenses of cutting-edge video conferencing technology over to healthcare professionals.
The Power of Ultra HD Video Conferencing
4K video, as the name implies, produces images four times higher, clearer, sharper–however you want to say it–than what is currently known as full HD.
That’s achieved by packing four times as many pixels onto the screen, allowing the image to be displayed in smaller, more accurate pieces. Imagine the rounder edges you’d get on a Lego sculpture if the individual bricks were four times smaller.
This kind of muscle is rare in current home entertainment systems, and rarer still in modern video conferencing setups. And the reason it’s scarce in video call technology right now is threefold.
Firstly, like all new hardware technologies, it’s expensive. In fact, it’s around twice as expensive as one of the leading HD models. Secondly, it takes a whole bunch of bandwidth grunt, in addition to a high-end computer, to operate the highest of high-end encoders and get the most out of a 4K service.
And thirdly, in a world where HD video conferencing is plenty good enough, who needs 4K? Who needs to see every little pore and wrinkle on someone’s skin?
The answer? Dermatologists.
4K Video Conferencing for Dermatologists
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., with one in five Americans likely to develop the potentially fatal disease during their lifetime.
However, the cure rate is very high if the disease is caught early– around 95 percent–using what is one of the least intrusive and quickest tests available. The American Academy of Dermatologists currently provides free skin cancer screenings that take less than 10 minutes.
The screening consists of a full body visual inspection of the patient, with no need for blood samples or other invasive procedures. As these tests are entirely dependent on visual examination, they are the perfect candidate to be conducted by video conferencing technology.
The most obvious advantage to conducting screenings remotely is its offer of instant, free, and limitless travel. With the appropriate visual quality available, dermatologists can visit multiple healthcare facilities, workplaces, and even homes without ever leaving their own office.
Current 4k camera technology is already highly mobile, allowing it to be sent ahead of time to any desired location, while on the doctor’s side of things the immersive wonders of telepresence suites could potentially turn any humble consulting room into a wall-to-wall visual feast of charts, patient histories, and huge screens.
However, the real advantage to screening by video conferencing may be the way it helps break down the time and fear factors that prevent people from getting screened at all.
Non-Confrontational Video Medicine
Any day when there’s a health professional visiting the office is not a normal day.
Be they dermatologists doing free screenings, general practitioners conducting basic check-ups, or nurses offering flu shots, the constant parade of people to and from their desks in an office scenario is always a distraction.
However, with a mobile unit in place, or the health professional tapping in to the company’s existing video conferencing equipment, there’s no need to rush. Employees can be scheduled for checkups over the course of a week, as the dermatologist could remotely ‘visit’ any number of places over the course of a day.
In fact, with the help of current recording techniques that allow video conferencing sessions to be taped for later, staff could even scan themselves with a little direction.
Taping a self-administered screening could help more people find time for a check-up, and it would also help those feeling a little nervous about the whole process. All that’s required is that 4k camera and a brief how-to video, and people could conduct their own preliminary test from home, with or without the real-time presence of a dermatologist.
In fact, once 4K technology becomes more accessible–and it will, sure as HD technology has moved from exclusive home theatres to being broadcast on free-to-air television–everyone within a specific range of a dermatologist could be given an annual check-up from home. And without leaving the comfort and convenience of their own home, people are likely to be far more inclined to undertake this potentially life-saving screening.
Coupled with the current high cure rate for skin cancer, a massive increase in the number of people being screened each year has the potential to radically reduce the toll of the disease, and begin to remove the all-encompassing fear the phrase ‘skin cancer’ generates.
Image Source: Flickr CC User frances1972