Chris Stegh was right on when he wrote in this post about video telemedicine that “the race is on to perfect easy-to-use video tools.” One reason he says more video telemedicine isn’t being used is because traditional room conferencing solutions like Polycom, Cisco Tandberg, etc. have been difficult to use. It’s only recently that consumer-grade telemedicine and telehealth technology have become available outside of the boardroom. Telemedicine video conference that can cross firewalls, he notes, is another matter.
However, none of the solutions he lists are a really good fit for telemedicine video conference. Skype and Cisco WebEx, for example, are popular and easy to use, but have security issues when it comes to protecting patient privacy. The way they handle data and certain features, like video archiving, put doctors at risk for breaching federal health privacy laws (a.k.a. HIPAA) which are beginning to be more aggressively enforced and can result in fines of up to 1.5 million per violation.
Vidyo and Polycom CloudAxis also seem like perfect alternatives because they have software-only endpoints, but they actually still require servers which translates to complicated setup and expensive hardware any way you cut it. (It also makes them harder to scale.) Also, while Microsoft Lync is doing great as an enterprise product, it is, unfortunately, notoriously difficult to deploy video conferencing for Lync.
Aside from security and server issues, these systems may be missing other key telemedicine features. Telemedicine innovators are looking for medical device integration and the ability to easily send (not just receive) multiple video streams – so doctors can see both the patient and a medical device image at the same time. They need to be able to control the address book and who can call in. They also want a video chat that is easy for anyone to install/setup and use. Many are looking for a simple way to integrate video into their own website or system.
VSee telehealth is proving to be a great fit for telemedicine. Its no server, no admin install can cut costs up to 10 times while making deployment easy. It crosses all firewalls and is super consumer-friendly. Moreover, the simple, rich VSee API can make possible exciting innovations like Intermountain Healthcare’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) renovation.
So, while virtual doctor visits haven’t yet replaced in-person visits, the right technology is just a click away to making it happen!