VSee Telemedicine Clinic in Haiti – ATA People’s Choice Winner!

Telemedicine Clinic in Rural Haiti Helps Build Self-Sustaining Communities

VSee is an official People’s Choice winner of this year’s ATA Telemedicine Video Contest!  Out of 79 video submissions, Expect Telemedicine video received 479 votes!

telemedicine clinic haitiThe video, created and submitted by our partner, LifePaths Global Alliance, shows VSee being used to operate a rural telemedicine clinic in Haiti. Doctors from Port-Au-Prince are able to see these patients despite distance and destroyed infrastructure from the 2010 quake. The telemedicine clinic has been and is still being used to give tens of thousands of Haitians access to healthcare 2010.

About LifePaths Global

LifePaths Global Alliance was founded by Elaine Knight in 2010 in response to the devastating earthquake that overwhelmed Haiti that year.  Its mission quickly became one of providing urgent medical and community development assistance to select rural areas of Port au Prince and L’Estere. By providing health, employment and education programs in these rural areas, people would no longer need to seek these opportunities and services outside of their own communities and would be able to return to their homes. Their long term goal is to assist these rural areas in becoming entirely self-sufficient through our community and medical relief projects (such as the telemedicine clinic) that were quickly implemented and continue to operate in these regions.

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Telecommuting Robots Can Boost Your Career

Would you consider using an office robot to telecommute? -WSJ poll

telecommuting robot

I’m a definite “yes”!  As a remote worker, I know that getting in face time and making myself seem “real” and personable to coworkers is crucial.  In fact, studies show that workers who put in less “face time” are less likely to be credited for working as hard as the one who does.  Studies also show that seeing and interacting with team members in their regular work environment is a big factor in improving virtual team relationships. So anything that boosts my presence and improves my work relationships sounds good to me, even if it means being a telecommuting robot.

But just how much “presence” and work context does a $9700 proxy robot give you?  Over the summer, WSJ reporter Rachel Silverman has been trying out one of these QB-82s (by Anybot, Inc) from her home office and tells of her experiences as a telecommuting robot:

“The robot made me feel closer to distant colleagues…. During my robot days, I interacted with co-workers I’d never met before, as well as others I hadn’t talked with in years; each of them was compelled to greet me as I cruised down the hall. I chitchatted at the office coffee bar, a more lively scene than sipping coffee alone in my kitchen.

…People connected with Robot Rachel, whose friendly mien was hard to resist….  I even chatted with the Journal’s top editor at the daily morning-news meeting, which never happened before from my desk in Texas.”

Source:  WSJ – Life As A Telecommuting Robot

Silverman shares that another QB user, Faith Brady at Elance Inc, is even able to fulfill her receptionist duties from across the country in Illinoise, greeting guests and offering them a drink at the company’s location in Mountain View, California.

Research with telepresence robots also has also proved to be very positive.  Cisco researchers found that people tended to be “more honest and open” with robot proxies than with human colleagues.  Microsoft researchers led by Gina Venolia found that they improved work relationships. A previous VSee blog post sums it up:

Remote workers…felt like they were more connected to the team and able to participate more fully in office life.  Their coworkers felt more familiar and friendly towards their remote counterparts and were able to interact with them in a more physical way, which also made them seem more real, especially those they had never met in person.

Source: VSee – Move Over Mini Me, Meet Virtual Me

Of course, with all the time consuming technical glitches Silverman and WSJ staff faced, it doesn’t look like the world of Star Wars or Buck Rogers is right around the corner.  Besides, robot proxies only work if you’ve got a few telecommuters.  What if you’re running a virtual office or an office where the majority of people are away from their desks on any given day?  In many cases, videoconferencing is still the way to go.  With more and more people working “flexibly,” video is becoming an essential work tool and not just an amusing diversion.  Versatile desktop video solutions like VSee abound the market these days, so it’s now easier than ever to find something that fits your remote work needs!

Related articles:

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photo courtesy: Anybots, Inc.

VSee on Mercadeo.com

Last month, we received a note from Jeorge E. Pereira, editor of Marketing E-Zine in Spanish language mercadeo.com. He was an avid VSee fan, and was intending to publish his review of VSee on the E-Zine.

“I am very impressed with the friendly and efficient program developed by your group.” – Jeorge E. Pereira

His Spanish review article is now available online here.

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Update For VSee Release 721 Is Now Available

What’s new?

  1. Fixed connecting issue to directory (cannot call after directory restart)
  2. Fixed an audio bug in Automatic Quality Control
  3. Fixed crashes

Thanks for your hard work development team!

VSee’s No Vacation Policy

honor system vegetable stand, photo by Allan Gathman

Summary:  Inspired by Hubspot, VSee is also implementing a policy of “no policy on vacations” as a company culture hack.  Let us know if you think it will work!

Who’s The Nut With The Bright Idea
Dharmesh Shah is a serial founder that I admire a lot for his scientific approach to the startup process.  He goes at with simple, direct “hacks” that identify and address the heart of a problem.  He is currently with Hubspot, an Internet marketing company that he and MIT pal Brian Halligan grew from their fascination with the impact that the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies were having on small businesses.  Hubspot is also backed by Salesforce, Google, and Sequoia, currently Continue reading