Update 7/19/2019 – VSee has just released a core video rewrite to support stable, high quality group video and phone call-ins. Existing paid customers will automatically be upgraded to this new release.
A Review Of 3 Top Video Conferencing Solutions – VSee, Zoom, GoToMeeting
VSee, Zoom, GoToMeeting — with all the options out there for doing telehealth and telemedicine, how do you know what works best for your telemedicine needs? It’s been awhile since we’ve looked at Zoom and Citrix GoToMeeting (GTM) products, so we decided to check them out again and see how VSee is stacking up.
VSee has long been know for it’s low-bandwidth video capabilities. We have plenty of clients who rave about VSee’s video quality and lip sync, especially those who have trouble with low-bandwidth networks. Even Bryan Heller, a former Polycom designer and Zoom diehard, was impressed with VSee’s video quality when he gave it a try over a 4G LTE network.
However, I have to give Zoom and GoToMeeting (GTM) credit for having great group video connection. We did a four-way test call over poor networks with low bandwidth and the video call was seamless and had high-quality video. When we switched to VSee, we immediately experienced some connection issues. (Our test call was done over networks in the Philippines.)
Interestingly, while we had great video experience with Zoom and GTM, a client I recently spoke with complained that they had a terrible connection while using GTM.
Of course, we’re always working to improve our video quality with ourselves as the use case —regular global staff meetings (of anywhere from 10 to 20 participants across the US, Eastern Europe, and Asia).
Telehealth Design and User Experience
This is where VSee really shines for telehealth and easy collaboration. Zoom and GTM meeting rooms are designed for moderated group conference calls and work meetings. There no concept of a “closed door” or waiting room with patient queue. When a provider starts a meeting the “door” is always “open” for anyone to walk into the call whether on accident or on purpose. In fact, Zoom recently had a crazy security flaw where anyone who had ever downloaded Zoom on their Mac could be coerced into video call without their permission. Talk about scary!
VSee’s design grew out of raw feedback from medical practitioners and observations of their workflow needs. We’ve created a flexible virtual health care workflow that allows patients to enter the doctor’s waiting room, sign in, and be placed into a patient queue while they wait to see the doctor. Meanwhile, the doctor can see who is in the patient queue, how long each patient has been waiting, and to start the video call when she is ready.
VSee also notifies you on your computer and/or your mobile device when a patient enters your clinic. It is also designed so your entire care team can coordinate to triage and track patients throughout the various steps of their visit. You definitely can’t do that with a Zoom or GTM meeting room.
Simplicity: Lower Your Learning Overhead Costs
Another problem is while Zoom and GTM have a lot of cool meeting features (which I’ll discuss later). The downside with this is the complexity — there were simply too many tabs and icons to figure out. For example, it took me quite a while to learn how to go to a previously scheduled meeting. And the audio had a phone-in option that was initially quite confusing.
VSee from the get-go was designed to be very simple to use, so that anyone can be an expert in 15 minutes or less. It was also designed to be collaborative so patients or physicians can quickly share lab tests, images, or resources without having to pass moderator privileges or to figure out where to attach a file. Simply click the green “Share” button on the window you want to share or drag and drop your file to the caller’s video window.
As mentioned earlier, Zoom and GTM does have some nice conference meeting features that VSee lacks. For example, one feature GTM has that I really like is the “raise hand” option where a participant clicks on a button to virtually “raise his hand,” and the moderator can call on the person to share his thoughts in the meeting. It also has a nice phone-in option so participants who don’t have access to a webcam can join in. With Zoom, the video screen of the person talking automatically enlarges, drawing everyone’s attention to him. I find these features very smart and efficient especially in a meeting with multiple participants.
All three products offer screen sharing with collaboration tools (although as mentioned above VSee’s is less complicated to use), a custom link where participants can go to to connect with you, and the ability to record for documentation purposes.
VSee, however, also offers features specific to doing telehealth and telemedicine, including the ability to stream medical peripherals, such as USB otoscope, EKG, ultrasound, etc. while still seeing patient faces. VSee supports far-end PTZ camera control for telestroke and remote care. VSee also offers a special uncompressed audio mode for hearing digital stethoscopes.
You can also white-label the VSee Clinic with your own logo and customize in-take forms to your specific patient experience.
Other VSee services include hardware packages with telemedicine carts and kits, and even mobile telehealth app development.
If you’re not in healthcare, GTM and Zoom’s Meeting Rooms
are definitely cheaper than a VSee Clinic with have pricing that ranges from free to $49/month. If you are in healthcare, make sure your plan includes signing a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) for HIPAA compliance. The starting price for Zoom for healthcare (i.e. Zoom with BAA) is listed at $200 per month. I personally would be skeptical of a company that signs a BAA completely free. After all securing and taking on legal liability for your PHI isn’t free. While VSee has started offering a Free version VSee Clinic with basic BAA, only paid VSee Clinic users get our standard BAA (more liability coverage) as well as live training sessions and phone support. You can compare VSee Clinic plans here.
Which telehealth solution should I choose?
When you compare video solutions for telemedicine, you can see there’s a real difference. If you’re serious about going down the telemedicine path, we think you should, of course, go with VSee. While Zoom and GTM offer excellent video conferencing services, they can only offer one piece of the telemedicine puzzle. VSee, on the other hand, is specifically focused on solving the needs of the health care space. Think of VSee as a ready to scale telemedicine platform. Start with a simple Free VSee Clinic and quickly add all the different layers you need for building out your dream system: custom intake, modular EMR, online payment, symptom checkers, ePrescription, wellness device integrations, etc.