Try before you buy for telehealth

Written by Sue Cartledge on .

Managed services specialist Huon IT has set up fully equipped video conferencing demonstration rooms to allow clients to try out its LifeSize system and weigh up its benefits before investing.

Huon IT is a partner for LifeSize, the video conferencing division of Logitech, and is one of the many groups now offering telehealth solutions in Australia, particularly for aged care.

Huon's video conferencing specialist Lindsay Rhodes said the company partnered with LifeSize in 2011 after investigating several different video conferencing solutions.

Huon IT decided LifeSize was the one that provided the best image quality at the lowest broadband speeds, Mr Rhodes said.

“With a lot of our clients in health and aged care in regional and rural areas, we knew that broadband speeds were not the greatest, and LifeSize has the best image quality at low speeds,” he said.

Huon's clients in the healthcare sector include aged care provider RSL LifeCare and Northern Cardiology in Sydney.

Video conferencing is increasingly being adopted by many aged and community care organisations to enable regular meetings and training sessions for staff, as well as for video consultations with GPs and specialists in the individual facilities.

Mr Rhodes said many smaller aged care organisations have elected to use the LifeSize software only as it's a low-cost solution, with a yearly subscription per user, and can be installed on any PC or Mac.

“It’s a very low cost solution: there is no infrastructure to purchase, no hosting, everything is done in the cloud, and the software allows multiparty calls, split screens, people can share documents, and unlike Skype it is a dedicated site and is encrypted,” he said.

The full hardware and software solution is more suitable for organisations like community care services, which often involve a head office, regional offices and staff out in the field.

LifeSize allows field staff equipped with a mobile device to dial in to a conference. It is also interoperable with Microsoft's Lync platform.

For video consults with specialists, the more sophisticated the hardware component of the LifeSize system the more detailed the image can be, Mr Rhodes said.

“Some of the top of the range models have remote camera adjustments, so that the specialist can zoom into a particular part of the patient’s body, face or eye to aid diagnosis.”

LifeSize also allows users to change from point-to-point to multi-party conferences easily.

Huon IT is also offering its new Dawn Patrol service to aged care providers, which it says is a cost-effective managed solution for 24/7 monitoring of critical issues.

The monitoring service covers failing hardware, virus and security breaches, system overloads, capacity warnings, back-up failures, data corruption and internet connectivity issues.

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