Tag: humanitarian

Telesurgery in Humanitarian Settings – Mohana Amirtharajah, MD, Doctors Without Borders [TFSS Talks]

Telesurgery, as told by the expertsAt this year’s TFSS conference, we had the pleasure of hearing about a telesurgery project from the field work of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). MSF is one of VSee’s most inspiring humanitarian organizations.  Whether it’s providing aid in war-torn countries, nations hit by natural disasters, or areas facing epidemics, they’re often the last ones out or the only humanitarian organization operating in that zone. Continue Reading…

Building Telemedicine Infrastructure in Iraqi Kurdistan

I had the privilege of traveling to Iraq Kurdistan twice in the past two years to help bring much needed telemedicine infrastructure and surgical services to refugees and the local inhabitants. For this I have to thank the work of  renowned hepatic surgeon Dr. Gazi Zibari.

 Dr Zibari builds telemedicine infrastructure in KurdistanContinue Reading…

Neurologist Using Telemedicine to Transform Epilepsy Care in Underserved Countries


Dr. Greg Lipscomb is a neurologist with a mission: to transform epilepsy care in underserved countries. And he’s doing this with the help of telemedicine and telehealth technology.

Many patients with epilepsy in these countries are are misunderstood and face social stigma. They are considered crazy or supernaturally afflicted, and often do not get the right treatment and medication. In fact, many think that epilepsy is contagious and do not realize that it can actually be controlled with medical treatment.

While social and cultural beliefs will take time to change, something can be done about providing medical treatment for epilepsy now. This year, Dr. Lipscomb brought EEG machines in Tenwek and Kijabe Hospitals in Kenya. He trained 4 technicians to use the machines in 5 days. However, the story does not end there.

The talented technicians in Tamwik Hospital, Kenya

The talented technicians in Tenwek Hospital, Kenya

“VSee allows my my project to be a success”

Even though Dr. Lipscomb is now back to his work and family in Montgomery, Alabama, he still continues to teach the staff in Kenya – using VSee’s telemedicine technology.

He says, “The ability for me to continue to train and talk with the techs is a giant answer to prayer as well as benefit.  I was only able to spend a week with the techs, which is impossible to train them everything, but with this [VSee], we can do lectures, view patients as they are being connected, answer questions, and give feedback on EEGs done.  VSee will allow my project to be a success.”


Just recently, with VSee’s low bandwidth requirements, they were able to do a group call between the technicians in Kenya and another consulting specialist in the US. They used the screen share feature to discuss the EEG results and Dr Lipscomb was impressed with how quickly the technicians learned.


Next stop for EEGs and telemedicine neurology training

Dr. Lipscomb’s next project is to bring solar powered EEG machines to a mountain area in Haiti by early next year. The EEG tests will be stored in the local machine and information will be sent to specialists across the globe.

With today’s technology, quality healthcare can reach everyone!


TIC+ Provides Anytime Online Counseling for Teens in Crisis

tic online counseling for teens

It’s tough being a teen – we’ve all been there and can relate. Often all they need is someone who will listen and provide support. While technology brings with it problems like cyber-bullying, it also provides solutions like online counseling for teens and their families, so they can privately talk to a counselor online from anywhere at just the right time.

That’s what Teens in Crisis (TIC+) is all about. With qualified professionals*, TIC+ provides face-to-face and  online counseling to support children and young people aged 9-21 and their families living in Gloucestershire, UK. And they’re using the VSee Waiting Room to do it!

Check out how they do online counseling in the video below or watch the video here

As one changed teen writes, “I finished with my counsellor about a year ago but I had seen her for well over a year, thanks to hundreds of extensions to our sessions. She was fantastic and she helped me so much. She was the first person I felt understood me, really cared and I was able to talk to easily…. Without her, my life would be so different, if I was even still alive by now. She helped me made so many big decisions and changes in my life. She is just incredible and so is this charity.”

You can learn more about the great work TIC+ is doing in the lives of our teenagers here.

*TIC+ is a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

VSee & CEP America Use Telemedicine to Help Iraq Kurdistan Refugees

VSee is humbled to be a part of an effort with CEP America to bring medical expertise to Iraq Kurdistan using telemedicine. It’s especially relevant as Continue Reading…

Apollo Hospitals Establishes Telemedicine in the Himalayas

himachal pradesh

Thirteen thousand feet above sea level in the Himalayan Mountains, Apollo Hospitals has set up one of the highest telemedicine stations in the world! This government-assisted project, known as the Himachal Pradesh Telehealth Services Project, aims to make quality healthcare more accessible to the people of this remote region of northern India.Continue Reading…

Why VSee Free Video Conference for Education – A School Technology Integrator’s Review

* VSee group video chat is FREE for education.  Just sign up for your VSee account using your .edu or country-equivalent address. Please contact us for your free education account if your institution does not have a .edu email.

Guest blog by Claudia Novak, former Technology Integration Specialist at Nashua NH School District and technology expert for the New Hampshire Geographical Alliance.

school technology integration

For the past 20 years, I have been a Technology Integrator for the 17-school Nashua NH School District. One of the most powerful tools I have used has been video conferencing– both with my students and my teachers. For my teachers, it has been a great way to do training and problem solving when I couldn’t be at their school. For my students, it was a great way for them to connect to students at other schools within the school district or around the globe or participate in my Virtual Fieldtrips from anywhere .

Over the years, I have used several software solutions and even expensive dedicated IP to IP hardware solutions. No matter what software product or hardware solution I used, there was one huge issue – our school district’s lack of bandwidth during peak times of Internet usage. The other issue was ease of use for my teachers.

VSee – It’s Really That Simple for Teachers To Use

About 2 years ago I was introduced to VSee on an education blog. I downloaded the product on my laptop and my iPad. It didn’t require administrative rights for my teachers to download it to their laptops. It didn’t require special setups by my teachers to connect to the laptop/iPad camera and audio. I just sent them an invitation and they were up and working with me in a matter of seconds. It was that easy to use.

My first true test of VSee was when I did a series of video conferences from Gdansk, Poland. I was a tad worried since the hotel I was staying at had horrible Internet connection. I had about 15 classes that were ‘connecting’ to me 1-on-1 over a 3 hour period with teachers that had used VSee only when I was there to help them out. The teachers were using both laptops and iPads.

I was HUGELY impressed. No problems and every class got to spend time with me asking all their questions without any video or audio breakup. Better yet, not one teacher had an issue connecting to me and I didn’t have to spend any side time emailing or chatting with them about technical issues.

Since then, I have used VSee exclusively not only for my Virtual Fieldtrips but also connecting to my teachers within the school district. VSee is the only video conferencing product that I have used with such low bandwidth that I could have excellent video and audio even during peak times in my school district.

Video Conferencing Beyond K-12 Education

I recently retired from education and am now working with the New Hampshire Geographical Alliance (NHGA) to help promote geographical education not only in K-12 environment but with universities, too. It is a very active group and one of the issues we have is travelling to meetings. At our last meeting, attendance was low because of the 2+ hours drive under difficult winter conditions, so I introduced VSee to our group.

In April, I used VSee to host our first sub committee (4 members) meeting and we got SO much done without leaving our homes.  Everyone was highly impressed with the quality of video and audio and ESPECIALLY the ease of use with multiple platforms.

I am greatly looking forward to how this video conferencing solution will aid all educators concerned with geography in New Hampshire!

Thank you, VSee. Kudos to VSee and its staff!


Dell, Intel, and Government Experts Salute VSee at Global mHealth Briefing on Capitol Hill

On Wednesday, December 3, Intel, Dell, and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) hosted a congressional briefing. This event focused on ways that innovation and policy reform can improve local and global responses to emerging health crises such as Ebola in Nigeria.

Dell presentation on telehealth

More than 50 leaders from government, think tanks, media, and the health care industry gathered for the event. According to the organizers’ briefing book: “Telemedicine provides an opportunity to treat patients while limiting exposure for health workers.” This technology “provides a decentralized approach that can be deployed quickly to hot spots where local hospitals are overwhelmed.”

Dell Roundtable

Matt Phillips, Vice President of Strategy and Development at Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences, spoke on the technology and innovation panel. He focused on VSee and our telemedicine kit, pointing out that VSee has created “promising technology to more fully and efficiently address emergency response,” not only in West Africa, but also in villages of the Amazon rainforest and in Iraqi Kurdistan. It goes to show that when technology and policy leaders work together, they can accomplish a lot of good in the world.

Congressional Briefing

Additional participants included:

Steven VanRoekel
Chief Innovation Officer, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Justin Rattner
President, Intel Foundation
Intel corporate vice president and Intel Senior Fellow

Dean Garfield
President and CEO, Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)

Robert Atkinson
President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Erin Mershon
Technology Reporter, POLITICO Pro

Farley Cleghorn, MD
Chief Knowledge Officer and Global Health Practice Leader, Futures Group

All of us here at VSee are honored by the acknowledgment of our efforts in global mHealth.

A Humanitarian Trip to Iraq with VSee

VSee is featured in the Summer 2014 newsletter from the Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (AHPBA). *

You can view the complete newsletter here. On pages 12 and 13, it tells of Dr. Gazi B. Zibari and his humanitarian trip to Iraqi Kurdistan, where he used VSee telemedicine and donated some VSee equipment to local health providers.

“The telemedicine equipment has helped the team to follow up with our patients, and also our team members are available for consultation via VSee.”

VSee in Iraq

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 4.28.46 PM

Zibari Kurdistan

* AHPBA brings together the top surgeons performing HPB surgery (diseases affecting the liver pancreas and biliary system) today.

VSee Team in Iraq Kurdistan Refugee Telemedicine Clinic (Day 2)

Syrian refugee

Syrian refugee camp patients waiting to be seen as we unload our equipment.

Duhok Iraq Kurdistan map

Duhok (Dohuk or Dahuk) is about an hour from the Turkish border of Iraqi Kurdistan

We hit the ground running on day two of the medical outreach, following the medical training symposium on Sunday.  The medical outreach team (consisting of 3 Ear, Nose, Throat surgeons – Dr. Marc Dean, Dr. Michael E. Glasscock, Dr. Frederick J. Stucker, a transplant surgeon – Dr. Gazi B. Zibari, an abdominal surgeon – Dr. John Thomas, a nurse practitioner/PhD candidate – Julie Daugherty. a biomedical engineer – Brian Spearman, and of course, the VSee telemedicine deployment team – Milton and myself) arrived at the Syrian refugee camp of Domiz just outside Duhok at 8 a.m. with all our equipment and medicine. A long line of refugee patients were already waiting to receive medical attention from us.  We immediately got to work seeing and operating on patients without lunch or bathroom breaks until 3 p.m. when the power generator finally gave out completely after stopping intermittently throughout the morning. This was the only reason we stopped seeing patients.  We had to ask the rest of the waiting patients to come see us at the Azadi hospital the next day.

The Syrian Refugee Camp of Duhok

UNHCR Syrian refugee camp

Syrian refugee camp tents – concrete base and soft roof

UNHCR tent

Domiz refugee camp medical clinic

The Domiz refugee camp medical clinic

Below is a tiny cabin we were given to set up our temporary operating room (OR) and telemedicine eye clinic.  We squeezed the telemedicine station to the right side of the room and an operating table with microscope and all the surgical instruments to the left.  This way we could simultaneously operate on the ear, nose, throat (ENT) patients while doing telemedicine eye examinations, allowing us to serve more patients.

mobile clinic OR in Domiz

The room given us to set up our temporary operating room and mobile eye clinic

telemedicine clinic set up

Setting up for surgery and remote eye exams

Syrian refugee telemedicine clinic

Crowded clinic – ENT surgeries to the left; telemedicine eye exams to the right

Remote Eye Clinic via VSee Telemedicine Case

telemedicine eye clinic

We were very lucky to have an amazing ophthalmologist from Panama, Dr. Raul Chanis, as our team’s remote ophthalmologist. It was 2:30 am in Panama when the mobile clinic was set up, and he was able start tele-ophthalmology examinations of the Syrian refugees. He saw 28 patients via VSee telemedicine kit with Dr. Gazi Zibari translating before the telemedicine clinic ended.  He then went on with his regular work day after a quick 1-hour nap!

Dr. Chanis was fantastic with the patients and also with directing non-medical personnel.  He was so intuitive and good at observing details that we felt like he was right there in person doing the diagnoses.  Even with all the noise from the ENT patient interviews, crying babies, etc., Dr. Chanis didn’t miss a thing while communicating with patients–he could tell right away that a patient’s eye was protruding just by briefly talking with her over video.

remote eye consultation

In the remote eye examination pictured above, he is asking the little girl to follow his pencil with her eyes. He can see that the girl’s head is tilted towards right side so he suspects that her left eye has a problem. He then has us examine her with the iris scope, which shows that the girl’s pupil is not centered, followed by an examination with the ophthalmoscope (a new addition to the VSee telemedicine kit) to check her pupil.

iris scope display 12.3

He sees a small white cloud which could potentially be a tumor inside the girl’s eye.  If it does turn out to be a tumor, catching the problem this early could mean saving her life even though she may still lose the eye.  We referred her to the local hospital where she will be taken this week to verify the cloudy spot – hopefully the findings will be benign. (Please note that all medical services for the refugees are provided free by the Kurdish government.)

Why Telemedicine?

The beauty of telemedicine is that it allows for triaging cases right here in the local community.  This helps control the number of minor cases crowding the local hospital, freeing up more appointments for urgent and serious cases.  It’s also more convenient for patients who then don’t need to travel so far.

Special thanks to our collaborating sponsors Operation Hope (OH), World Surgical Foundation (WSF), American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (AHPBA), The American Kurdish Medical Group (AKMG), Otorhinologic Research Institute (ORI), the Prime Minister of Iraq and Director of General Health for supporting this medical outreach trip to bring telemedicine and tele-education technologies to the developing world.

Also check out how we streamed live surgeries from the Azadi Teaching Hospital in Duhok and the rest of our telemedicine trip to Iraqi Kurdistan.

mobile surgery clinic

Learn more about VSee Telemedicine here.

Kurdistan prime minister


VSee Telemedicine Plays Key Role in Global Humanitarian Relief

“I feel like Thomas Edison…we don’t know how something works, but we know 200 ways not to do something, and so far, VSee has proven to be the best tool on the field.” – Randy Roberson, Disaster Relief Specialist

(Video link:  VSee in Action- HELP Telemedicine in Haiti)

Fifteen years ago, a chance meeting with a 40-year veteran of the humanitarian relief field and a life-changing visit to Calcutta lead Randy Roberson to make a quantum leap from broadcasting to disaster recovery logistics.  Since then Roberson has been literally dropped into numerous disaster situations around the world — India, Haiti, Afghanistan, Japan…as well as within the U.S.  His experiences have led him to the develop a robust set of technological tools that help emergency response workers effectively provide aid amidst the chaos and destruction of a disaster.  As he puts it bluntly, “the disaster technology was developed because I got tired of seeing people die on the field.”

Continue Reading…

Video Communication and Disasters

The recent earthquake in Haiti and the ongoing tragedy has reminded me of the great responsibility of VSee and the industry as a whole to continue advances in disaster relief, search and rescue, and reconstruction.

Now, we’ve worked with several agencies using VSee in its normal function of video conferencing but also implemented to allow ad-hoc and secure video from things such as unmanned robots, drones, and the like, organizations such as Strong Angel and Humanitarian Emergency Logistics & Preparedness. Over the next couple days or so I may share a few examples, but right now I just wanted to express how the industry is working to help in times like these.

VC as “video communication”, rather than the narrow “videoconferencing”, has and will continue to help save many lives, both of those being actively rescued, especially in places a rescuer can’t reach, as well as the rescuers themselves, by helping keep them out of harm’s way.

Unfortunately, whenever disaster strikes, especially in such an impoverished nation as Haiti, the financial repercussions exacerbate the loss of life, and hamper reconstruction afterwards. Communication also becomes difficult with many strains on emergency organizations.  Low-cost and efficient deployments of VC services such as ours will continue to do whatever we can to continue making rescue, relief, and reconstruction safe and economical.

Our hearts go out to everyone in Haiti tonight, and to all their loved ones worldwide.

Live from Chad to Washington, DC

World Refugee Day! Everything came together on time, at least on the technical front.  (Hillary Clinton was scheduled to appear but fell and broke her elbow. Anderson Cooper had plane troubles). But Angelina Jolie was there and spoke live to the refugees in Chad via VSee.

The rehearsal

Pam & Gabriel on VSee

Pam Omidyar saying hi to Gabriel and group in Chad





The live event






Live Video Link to Chad Kicks Off World Refugee Day Activities

VSee connect Chad World Refugee Day 2009
At an event marking the launch of activities for World Refugee Day on June 20, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie appeared today alongside UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres to call on the world to recognise millions of victims of conflict around the world not as a burden but as a potential gift.

As an American, she said, “I know the strength that diversity has given my country — a country built by what some would now dismiss as asylum-seekers and economic migrants — and I believe we must persuade the world that refugees must not be simply viewed as a burden. They are the survivors. And they can bring those qualities to the service of their communities and the countries that shelter them.”

“The refugees I have met and spent time with have profoundly changed my life, “Jolie added. “Today, on World Refugee Day, I want to thank them for letting me into their lives.”

Jolie was speaking at an event at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., hosted by UNHCR and moderated by NBC television anchor Ann Curry. The event used VSee to provide a live two-way conversation between the Djabal refugee camp in eastern Chad and the assembled audience in Washington.

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