Video conferencing is not a new technology. However, recently video conferencing has begun to be improved and applied in new and interesting ways to accomplish agency’s goals and save money. Workers can use IP-based, high definition cameras in office or conference rooms, use software-based communications tools such as Cisco Jabber which make video calls from one computer to another possible, or use free internet services like Google Hangouts which provide video conferencing.
The Veteran Affairs (VA) office has been using video conferencing for its Home Telehealth program in order for its physicians to provide case management to veterans with chronic conditions, saving money and time for the veterans and government. In addition, the VA is also using video conferencing to assist veterans in appealing benefits claims in hearings through the Board of Veteran’s Appeals (BVA). The USDA feels that video conferencing is helping to improve communication and collaboration and lessening the need for travel.
Some wonder if video conferencing affects the result of the BVA hearings but, according to the BVA, they have measured the data and found no statistical difference between in-person versus video conference hearings. Additionally, while video conferencing can improve communication and collaboration, one wonders if there are additional benefits to people meeting face-to-face that video conferencing does not or cannot provide as well.
It seems it cannot hurt to use video conferencing versus normal telephone communications in order to better connect with employees or citizens. Video conferencing may be a worthwhile tool to look into to improve and save costs on case management and government operations.
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