The most lucrative and effective way for healthcare providers to provide improved services is by enhancing the level of collaboration between different stakeholders using the videoconferencing platform, according to Ovum.

In its latest report, Video conferencing and healthcare; A new chapter in collaboration, the independent technology analyst firm found video conferencing will have a substantial impact on care outcomes and patient and practitioner satisfaction when properly integrated into healthcare systems and working practices.

The technology is expected to deliver results in a number of key areas including the development of specialised treatment networks, more equitable healthcare and effective communication.

E-health will be one key area.

"Video conferencing solutions must be tailored to various usage scenarios, ranging from disease-specific diagnosis and treatment between a care provider and patient to consultation between professionals," Ovum telco strategy principal analyst and co-author of the report, Charlie Davies, said.

He claimed the equipment and networks required will also vary significantly, ranging from high-end tele-presence reliant on a high-speed broadband connection to desktop and laptop services.

The study also showed promising long-term prospects for video conferencing, with the rise in fixed and mobile broadband connectivity, improvements in equipment interoperability and innovation in application and machine to machine advancement underpinning its development.

"The increasingly central role of ICT will improve outcomes, allow remote consultations and save costs," Ovum senior analyst and co-author of the report, Cornelia Wels-Maug, said.

"Interaction between healthcare professionals, care providers and patients, as well as training and education, can be facilitated easily with video conferencing."