The Extraordinary Effects of FaceTime

FaceTime technology has been developing at a rapid rate ever since its inception in 2010, and it has helped change the world of communication as we know it.  People from all across the globe can easily have a near face to face interaction all with the click of a button.  People have described FaceTime as a “relationship saving technology” that quote came from a article talking about how FaceTime helped preserve and grow a couple’s long distance relationship.  With all the great things FaceTime has done, a question still remains, what effects does this technology have on the actual users, and on certain fields?  FaceTime has had a huge impact on the communication field, but where, and how, and who, has documented it?

In the scholarly article entitled, “FaceTime for Physicians: Using Real Time Mobile Phone–Based Videoconferencing to Augment Diagnosis and Care in Telemedicine,” the iPhone and FaceTime are said to have a very big impact on the field of medicine and the people in the field of medicine.

This video shows how FaceTime helped a mother in labor deliver her baby successfully.

“As consumer technologies improve and the ubiquity of highly sophisticated and capable devices continue to penetrate into user population, the potential for these costly replacement model could be usurped.  Mobile computing and smartphone handsets, such as the latest iPhone 4 from Apple Inc, demonstrate the ability to mediate the conduction of tele-health service across hundreds or thousands of miles.  The further integration of mobile video conferencing will benefit patient care when successfully negotiating environmental and economic obstacles.”

This short excerpt shows just how large of an impact that the iPhone can have on a certain field.  With this ease of communication medical personnel all over the country to communicate much easier,  making the quality of patient care increase ten fold.  Another example of FaceTime having an effect on society and certain fields is that even when there are concerns about technology security, FaceTime was at the forefront of making sure that all information stayed private.

“Enabling factors of this kind are fairly unexplored and are potentially vulnerable to several drawbacks.5 Compromised quality, security, and versatility may prevent a solution, (212 ARMSTRONG ET AL) such as this, from being fully recognized in the ever evolving standard of care for diabetic foot complications. What is promising about the iPhone 4 and the release of “FaceTime” video calling service is the utilization of open industry standards. This adoption is a decidedly powerful element, which potentiates the previously mentioned challenges to be overcome with a significantly reduced cost of implementation. In current, the FaceTime augmentation to the phone application supports a number of open standards including H.264 video and advanced audio coding compression and decompression (Codec) standards, session initiating protocol, several network traversal solutions, and real-time multimedia encryption protocols.”

There has been research done about online communication technologies effecting users behavior in a positive and negative manner, not limited to FaceTime, the research also looks at other online video communications along with online communities of people.  In the scholarly article entitled, “Virtual empathy: Positive and negative impacts of going online upon empathy in young adults,” the authors look at how going online effects people’s empathy, as opposed to having a face to face interaction.

This was the basis of the study.  “People can show empathic responses to others online, but at the same time empathy has been declining in young people since technology-based communication has become prevalent. Displacement of face-to-face time by online activities would be expected to negatively impact empathic skills. Since there is little direct empirical research on this topic, the present study sought to determine the nature of the relationship between Internet usage and empathy.”


This picture shows two friends making a FaceTime call and enjoying the face to face interaction. (pic via cnet1)

The results of the study done were as followed: “More than 1000 young adults completed an anonymous online questionnaire that asked about daily media usage, real-world empathy, virtual empathy, social support and demographic information. The results showed that, in general, going online had very small negative impacts upon cognitive and affective real-world empathy and actually improved time spent in face-to-face communication. Video gaming reduced real-world empathy in both females and males but did not reduce face-to-face time. Also, virtual empathy was positively correlated with real-world empathy, although virtual empathy scores were lower than real-world empathy scores for both sexes. Finally, both real-world empathy and virtual empathy are positively related to social support but real-world empathy demonstrated a 5–6 times stronger relationship. The findings show that spending time online does not displace face-to-face time nor reduce real-world empathy, and suggest that perhaps the lack of nonverbal cues in the online world contributes to overall lower levels of virtual empathy compared to the real world. The negative effects of being online upon empathy appear to be due to specific activities such as video gaming rather than total quantity of online time.”

This study is very important because it tested many different forms of online communication.  FaceTime, along with chat rooms and online forums such as Facebook, and even video games where users are speaking to each other through headsets from anywhere around the world, is used by so many people, and the effects are shown here.  So really only video games have been tied into the real negative qualities displayed by people online, which could be due in large part to the level of violence a majority of video games have.  FaceTime and other online communication however, still allow people to display empathy, not as strong as real world interaction, which is expected, but it still allows people to connect with one another in a way that displays positive behavior and communication.

FaceTime technology is again having a positive impact on the world of medicine, with iPads being in certain hospital rooms for the patients.  In the article entitled, “A Whole New Meaning to “Face Time” with Your Doctor,” Dr. Brian Remillard describes how the iPad video chat (FaceTime) technology helps benefit him, and his patients on a daily basis.


This picture shows Dr. Remillard FaceTiming with a patient via an iPad. (pic via dartmouth-hitchcock)

“We initially used a large robotic unit for nephrology consults,” says Brian Remillard, MD, section chief of Nephrology and Hypertension. “Patients, particularly older ones, were scared of it. They kept looking behind it to see if we were in it. It came equipped with big base speakers on the bottom making it sound like a voice from on high. When we started to round with the iPads, patients really liked them.”

This software also allows doctors to interact with staff that is in the room, like nurses, and allowed Dr. Remillard to speak with clinicians in Haiti and help them learn new things about medicine that would ultimately be able to save more people in the country.

“The Kubi device allows any physician to control the iPad remotely, in three dimensions, in concert with the software “Vidyo.” This is the same software that Dr. Remillard uses to teleconference with Haiti (see related story). The software operates on a low bandwidth making it reliable in remote areas.”

This technology even helps the doctors avoid their own personal crisis’, “It’ll be great in bad weather,” says Remillard. “Both Tom and I have crashed our cars commuting to Lancaster for consults. Now when a blizzard strikes, we’ll be much more inclined to say ‘We’re going to make rounds by iPad today.’ It may even cut down on cancellations. “We have a lot of missed appointments because patients don’t want to travel two or three hours for a 10-minute visit.”

Patient care was largely improved by the institution of this technology, not only here in the United States, but across the globe.  With technology like FaceTime, people are benefitting all across the world when it comes to medicine, making our society and others much better.

FaceTime is a technology that has been widely accepted around the world as a fascinating and cutting edge communication technology.  It has been growing and growing and will only continue to get better as the new software and the new ideas keep coming from Apple.  The technology itself has changed how people communicate globally, it has saved relationships, and it has even enhanced our medical practices at home, and abroad.  FaceTime is an incredible piece of technology, and one that I personally use every day.  I can only hope that it evolves into an even better piece of technology, and continues to help more and more people every day.