Vidyo, Massachusetts Hospital Partner On Telemedicine - InformationWeek

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4/27/2011
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Vidyo, Massachusetts Hospital Partner On Telemedicine

The Internet-based system gave Mass General's stroke center the secure, low-latency, high-definition, and interoperable videoconferencing platform it needed.


Slideshow: Wireless Telehealth Brings Medical Help To Those In Need
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When Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) needed a state-of-the-art telehealth system for its telestroke center, they turned to Vidyo's technology because it can leverage the Internet and existing general purpose IP networks to encrypt remote doctor-to-patient and doctor-to-doctor interactions. That meant putting a system in place that did not need a dedicated telehealth network infrastructure.

MGH recently installed the system at its Partners TeleStroke Center, a network that currently provides acute stroke consultation services to 27 rural and community hospitals in Massachusetts and northern New England. The organization was searching for a technology that had specific capabilities, according to Dr. Lee Schwamm, director of the Partners Telestroke Center in Boston, and vice chairman of the department of neurology/director of acute stroke services at MGH.

"The system had to work well, even with suboptimal network quality, and also needed to be portable and flexible to allow us to work at a variety of different facilities, to expand our outpatient follow-up, non-acute care, and provider-to-provider communications," Schwamm said in a statement.

The Vidyo platform allows healthcare providers to deploy high-definition (HD), low-latency videoconferencing anywhere an examination, operation, or consultation needs to take place, from within medical facilities at other hospitals, clinics, or physician offices.

MGH needed Vidyo to be interoperable with installed videoconferencing systems at other hospitals outside of the MGH corporate network. The team also tested the Vidyo platform with the hospitals' firewall configurations, to make sure it would function with little or no support from IT staff.

"When we conduct acute-care stroke exams, video clarity is mandatory so that we can observe any subtleties of patient's muscle movement and speech and detect problems; we need to clearly see the pupils in a patient's eyes," Schwamm said.

Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo's CEO, said the barriers to good-quality, affordable telemedicine have traditionally been high and noted that Vidyo's system opens up access to many more practitioners and patients, especially in rural and under-served communities where telehealth holds great promise for improving the quality of care.

"MGH is demonstrating how Vidyo is positively changing the telehealth market, opening it up so that high-quality, affordable video communication is within reach to all providers," Shapiro said in a statement. "Vidyo enables more practitioners to become telemedicine providers, which is good news for patients and the healthcare industry."

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