As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our daily lives, organizations and workers across industries are being hard pressed to find ways to connect and get work done. As such, we want to spotlight how some of our customers are using videoconferencing to forge on in this new normal of remote work.
This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Amy Miller, President of Miller Mediation and Solutions, for our webinar series spotlighting our BlueJeans Best-of-Breed Awards finalists.
If you are not familiar with our Best-of-Breed Awards, the program recognizes forward-thinking customers worldwide who are deploying BlueJeans technologies in new and interesting ways to improve the way they communicate, collaborate and meet with others.
Amy and her team at Miller Mediation and Solutions (MMS) received an Honorable Mention for the Biggest Impact Award category for being ahead of the curve when it comes to using video conferencing to mediate legal, business and family disputes.
Amy built her business from the ground up to operate 100% remotely—offering virtual mediation services and group facilitation for businesses and families dealing with housing, financial and eldercare transitions—and she’s doing this all through BlueJeans. Here’s a recap of my conversation with her:
Tell us a little bit about yourself and about Miller Mediation and Solutions:
Miller Mediation and Solution, Inc, or MMS, Inc., opened its doors in September 2018. Following a 22-year career providing dispute resolution services to a Fortune 10 Telecom company, I wanted to share my negotiation, communication, coaching, international and domestic business skills with the local business community. I now provide group facilitation for businesses and families dealing with housing, financial and elder care transitions. I connect families as they navigate the difficult conversations with their aging parents or solo seniors, so that they may age with independence and dignity.
There are a lot of pieces that come into play for caring for families with aging parents – there is a lot to know, and it can be overwhelming. I created a program called ‘Our Family Encounter’ which is designed specifically for that family conversation. By connecting families with their aging parents, it allows seniors to see their family members and talk about the issues important for seniors aging, they are able to make decisions quicker and with more clarity.
Families can talk about legal, financial, housing, care and socialization issues with the guidance of a Steward. Solo seniors (those without family close by, widowed, never had children or LGBTQ) are able to meet with their chosen advisors to review their plans. The result allows for solos to have the peace of mind that they are not aging alone. It allows for the advisors to connect and coordinate care with their clients without the extra expense of travel time. The Steward guides the conversation to manage difficult family dynamics, and moderate power imbalances between family members. Issues involving abuse or exploitation can be addressed as a family and is expected to moderate the incidence of abuse due to increased accountability and transparency.
With the importance and the impact of aging and how challenging it can be for families, how has BlueJeans made this less overwhelming for families and seniors? What have you been able to achieve, or some barriers you have been able to overcome due to BlueJeans?
Hosting videoconferencing meetings on BlueJeans allows for family members to attend a virtual meeting instead of taking full days off work and travel expenses to go home. Seniors typically will only have family meetings at the table, in the comfort if their own home; their adult children can manage these conversations from where they live or work – which has traditionally been close by, but in this day and age, families are spread across the country or even across the world. We are able to purchase a year subscription and have unlimited meetings is a major cost savings for families.
With elder abuse costs being a $16B expense, we look forward to impacting that number. We are able to provide monthly meetings at a reasonable rate for families. This allows for people to better access to advice and support - thus preventing additional escalation of family disputes. Probably more important, is the ability to build trust and rebuilding relationships within the family. Elders are feeling supported, they are feeling heard.
Seniors don’t typically feel confirmable with technology, including videoconferencing, but the simplicity and ease of use of BlueJeans has been a game-changer for families and seniors.
What top reasons you use BlueJeans at Miller Mediation?
Accessibility has got to be the number one reason – it’s one button to click and you’re on. No download, no nothing. It’s easy and intuitive for seniors, and they know their family will be there.
Additionally, the quality of the audio really sold me as clear audio is critical for seniors who are potentially dealing with hearing loss. For my families, they are able to join from any device, laptop, tablet, mobile, which in turn means they could join from wherever they are. BlueJeans allows for confidential conversations in real-time regardless of location (local and global). If I need to have separate private conversations, it is easy to manage for the hosts.
BlueJeans allows for families to manage conversations from the planning stages through to hospice care.
Given the current COVID situation and global work-from-home policies or shelter in place, what has changed for Miller Mediation?
I’ve actually been meeting more with businesses and staff from independent senior community centers to help them train seniors on how to use videoconferencing. Additionally, I have been helping people create a holistic plan (registering their emergency contact and meeting with them virtually to review all the questions around legal, financial, housing, wellness, socialization, and legacy planning) – it’s critical that emergency contact knows what your wishes are.
What advice can you offer those who are looking to set up remote consultations, admins and end users? Or what are some things you recommend they do in order to this as seamlessly as possible?
Once you have your device (laptop, tablet or mobile device), have a test-run with the family or patient so they feel comfortable connecting through videoconferencing—and make sure they turn on their camera! This is really the key to success in mediation or any meeting. You need to see visual cues and gestures, which get lost by not having your camera on.
Use the calendar integration for scheduling your meetings well in advance with your clients. This integration allows you to schedule your meeting with a single click!
Lastly, make sure your meetings are secure – always have a passcode set! Meeting hosts should apply both moderator and participant passcodes (if available) to heighten meeting security.
As people and businesses, organizations, schools, hospitals, etc. look for alternative ways to communicate and get work done, the “Miller Mediation and Solution: Connecting Families through BlueJeans” webinar has some great tips and tricks for using video conferencing to maintain business operations during this trying time (and beyond).
Have more questions for our team regarding getting started with BlueJeans? Check out this recent webinar for hands-on training. If you want to talk to us for your telehealth requirements, please contact us!