Do-It-Yourself Telemedicine Solution for an Ebola Isolation Unit

CDC Ebola unit suit

Being on the front lines of Ebola containment is a frightening job. Protective measures include setting up check-in stations outside of the hospital, wearing heavy duty face shields and decontamination suits, duct-taping layers of gloves to sleeves, and using telemedicine technology. In fact, Nebraska Medical in the lonely Midwest has taken Ebola treatment and prevention to a new level with its use of HD video telemedicine and hands free medical technology. Using technology like digital stethoscopes, X-rays with wireless transfer, and real-time video allows it to keep Ebola treatment safe yet personal. It has successfully saved all two of its Ebola patients and has made Nebraska Medical a CDC model of care for fighting Ebola. It was also recently awarded a 10M telehealth grant by CMS.

VSee Lets You Do Telemedicine On the Cheap

However, you don’t need a 10M telehealth grant to set up a telemedicine isolation unit like Nebraska Medical – which uses Vidyo, a very expensive and complex system.  VSee simple, secure telehealth lets you set up interactive HD video telemedicine for your isolation unit in just about 2 hours. Unlike Vidyo and similar systems. VSee’s peer-to-peer platform does not require any complicated server setup or maintenance. Furthermore, VSee’s simple design allows you to easily integrate telemedicine devices without any additional equipment or complicated configurations. VSee even allows you to send up to 4 device images simultaneously so you can see both the patient’s face and the device images without toggling or doing special video mixing.

To start using telemedicine in your isolation unit, all you need is a few pieces of easily obtainable equipment:

Setting Up Ebola Telemedicine in Less Than 3 Hours

To set up your system, download VSee to your computers. For the isolation unit PC, configure VSee to auto answer mode: Go to the VSee address book, click Settings–>Preferences–>Automatically accept calls. VSee allows you to add only selected VSee accounts to auto accept calls to ensure security.

VSee auto call accept

To set up your PTZ HD camera: Go to the VSee address book, click Settings–>Audio and Camera Setup. Select your PTZ camera from the camera pull down menu.

VSee Camera Setup

And if you’re not ready to “do-it-yourself”, VSee offers a pre-configured isolation unit to get you started.  Please contact and join Dr. Gavin MacGregor-Skinner and other VSee users in fighting Ebola with telemedicine today.

 photo courtesy: CDC Global via Flickr

VSee for Ebola Contagious Disease Units

Emergency health care workers –- such as those on the front lines combating Ebola in Nigeria –- are already using VSee for Ebola treatment. This week, a number of VSee customers contacted us to set up Ebola isolation units inside their hospital.

The setup is simple: just load the free VSee software onto a medical grade Onyx Healthcare all-in-one PC or load the free VSee onto the computer already in the isolation unit.

VSee auto accept calls

VSee for Windows auto call accept

Change your settings to automatically accept calls

VSee for Mac auto call accept

From the VSee address book, select Settings –> Preferences –> Automatically Accept Calls, and set up auto answer with your list of allowed users, so that any emergency worker on the list can connect automatically by video without having to make a request. This makes communications between multiple remote users faster and easier, streamlining the emergency workflow.

For an advanced setup, install a pan-tilt-zoom HD camera to allow the remote staff to control the camera.

For an even more advanced setup, deploy a VSee Telemedicine Kit which contains medical scopes and sensors. VSee allows doctors to do remote readings from these sensors, including EKG monitor, digital stethoscope, pulse oximeter, and numerous other devices.

Many contagious disease units are already using VSee. If you are applying to the USAID Ebola Grant, we would love to partner with you.

Inmarsat Partners with VSee for Telemedicine

Inmarsat, the multi-billion dollar innovative satellite company, has partnered with VSee to provide telemedicine in the world’s most difficult to reach places. VSee has used Inmarsat’s BGAN, a satellite terminal the size of a laptop, in numerous missions from Nigeria to Syria to Latin America.

Inmarsat has just published a case study of the VSee+Inmarsat telemedicine work in the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Gabon – where we used vsee in numerous villages without electricity and only accessible by boat.

Inmarsat provided the satellite technology so that VSee’s doctor-in-a-box kits could transmit high-quality ultrasound images from the field to faraway doctors. Their BGAN network proved to be the perfect solution.

Now you can read a case study that follows VSee into Gabon, showing how Inmarsat puts its satellite network to work for humanitarian causes. This three-page case study is a quick and fascinating read.

Download the case study now.

VSee Tip #7 – VSee Recording Playback and Convert from MKV File

VSee saves recorded video as Matroska (.mkv) files. To play a file, you can use VLC media player for playing MKV files on both Windows and Mac.  You can also check out other some alternatives to VLC here.

Set up VLC to Play Videos Side-by-Side

recording playback VSee

VLC for Windows view

  1. Go to Tools->Preference
  2. Uncheck the boxes for
    • “Allow only one instance” and
    • “Use only one instance when started from file manager”
  3. Save the settings.  (This will allow you to launch more then one instance of VLC player so you can play multiple videos simultaneously.)

Playing Back Videos Side-by-Side

playing MKV files simultaneously

To play all videos at the same time, in the file manager, highlight all the videos to be played at the same time, then hit “Play.”

Converting Your MKV File for Editing

Special thanks to VSee user, Tony Dennis, Founder of Freedom Star Project for the following tip.

The program I found to convert MKV files at a decent quality is Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate

Also if the client needs to extract the audio from the video without any loss at all (MKV is just like a folder that combines the audio and video) this is the program: MKV Extract GUI

This will allow people to take the audio and edit in a separate program and add it back to the video with other video editing software.

To record your VSee call, check out our post on How to Record a VSee Session.

VSee – Boldly Going Where No One Has Gone Before

Star Trek vintage

Guest Post – Anthony Watkins is Founder, Chairman and CEO of The Toney Watkins Company, a hospitality and entertainment company, currently developing international theme park resorts.

In early September of 1966, I sat with my brothers in front of our family’s television set watching this new show that was premiering on NBC called “Star Trek”.  I was immediately hooked.

More than anything, I was caught up in the technology of this new show – particularly, the Starship Enterprises’ two way video conference system. There stood Captain Pike (and later Captain Kirk) using this incredible wonder to communicate across space with Starfleet and other entities. From that point forward, I often dreamt about, searched for, and even at one point contemplated how could I create such a Star Trek video conferencing system. It’s now 2013, and I can truly say that I have finally found the “holy grail” of all video conferencing technologies.

Trapped by Skype and Other Inferior Video Conferencing Products?

For the past few years, like many businesses, our company has been using Skype Premium Services (Skype Group Video Calling, Skype Out, Skype Credits, etc.) simply because we didn’t have any better cost-effective choices.  We had tried a number other Skype alternatives such as ooVoo, Tokbox, etc—with none of them giving us what we needed.

In fact, I cannot count how many times we’ve had the video in the call freeze or dissipate, the audio fade out and never come back, or the call to simply drop all together.  We, for one, got tired of paying for these services while constantly having to tell whoever was on the other end to “Turn off your video to save bandwidth” only to have the audio portion of the call to sound like Alexander Graham Bell’s earliest attempts at a telephone. However, I’m glad to say that our company has finally been set free from the Skype video conference prison.

VSee – A Message in a Bottle

In early September of this year, I stumbled across an article comparing the various video systems out today and discovered VSee, a video chat tool for telehealth. I was so impressed with the video call quality that we are now 100% users of VSee and, in fact, we have become full-time “VSeevangelist’s.”

In addition to now being able to hold high quality individual and group video calls without worrying about the sound and video constantly breaking up, we have also been using VSee to share files, web links, as well as conduct collaborative discussions and make real time changes to architectural and engineering renderings.

Better Video Conferencing, Better Business

The following represents just a few of the uses by our company since learning of VSee three weeks ago.

  • On a recent 2 hour call, we connected our folks in Thailand, Australia and the U.S. with not so much as a hiccup. The video was smooth and clear (in default mode). All of the participants commented on how well the audio sounded.  What little degradation there was occurred in the audio stream but it was so minor that it was hardly noticeable. During this particular call we also used the drag and drop exchange of files feature as well as copying and pasting of multiple web links in the Instant Message (IM) window for web sites that we wanted to review or share.
  • To coordinate architectural site plan with our Korea office, VSee allowed us to not only review the plan and comment on it in real time, but saved us time from having to email it and wait on comments. The IM feature allowed the participants to clarify questions and comments that they did not want everyone else to see.
  • This past weekend, I was able to introduce VSee to one of our Board members who happens to be a retired computer industry executive. Ironically, his name is Veasey and it is actually pronounced “VSee”. We both got a kick out of that. His parting words to me as we ended the video conference was “Thanks for introducing me to this technology.”
  • On a call just today, one of our executives in South Africa (on a Mac laptop) could not stop raving about the clarity of the picture and high quality audio. When I told him that VSee also offered the capability to switch to 480p and even 720p, I thought he was going to pass out from the excitement.
  • On a personal note, early this year, my youngest daughter had moved into a loft in a city about 5 hours away. I have not had time to visit her yet so I convinced her to install VSee and kick Skype to the curb. She then took me on a tour of her loft by walking around with her laptop. I could not believe the clarity of the picture. This clearly blew anything that a real estate company could do as she was able to provide commentary on all of the nuances of her new digs.

The Toney Watkins Company Future is Bright Thanks to VSee

VSee is clearly major disruptor in the video conferencing space, especially for companies like ours that conduct business on a global scale.  Add to that the built in security and potential for future enhancements to the product (hopefully the developers will soon include VoIP telephone), and it is hands down the best video conferencing product available. In fact, I cannot see why anyone in their right mind would not want to have VSee installed on all their computer, phone, tablet, phablet, etc.

Of the 100 invites that I have sent out over the past 3 weeks, 34 have already joined VSee, and to a person, they have each exhibited amazement at how well this product works compared to the competition.

I have also started planning with our architects about how we could deploy VSee in the design of our hotels and hotel rooms, our customer service Kiosks and our 44 passenger motor coaches. For us, the future is now!

All I can say to Dr. Milton Chen and the entire VSee staff is that you have truly developed a world class product. May you “Live long and prosper!”

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photo credit: Joe Haupty via Flickr

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