What technology do I need to start a telehealth service?

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Photo of connectivity lines jumping across a remote town

Want to provide a virtual care service for your rural and remote patients, but not sure what technology you need?

This how-to guide will help you understand the technology required to get your telemedicine service up and running.

Telehealth is an important tool that connects patients with the virtual healthcare they need.

There is one question that we regularly get asked: What technology do I need to provide a telehealth service for my patients?

The answer is simple – all you need is:

  1. Broadband internet connection.
  2. Technology to enable medical grade video calls.
  3. A clinical toolkit of integrated telehealth medical devices.

We sat down with our Business Development Manager, Alex Hollings, to discuss these three requirements in detail.

Photo of Alex Hollings, Business Development Manager of Visionflex

Alex Hollings

Business Development Manager, Visionflex

LinkedIn

“In regional and remote areas, when a local health professional provides a virtual care service, it greatly expands the scope of medical services they can provide to patients in the community.

“Telehealth enables access to remote medical and allied health expertise. It reduces the need for patient travel for health appointments, which in turn reduces travel costs and the associated stress of patient transport over long distances.

“In isolated Indigenous communities, where there can be higher rates of health issues including serious ear infections, diabetes, COPD, and rheumatic heart disease, clinical telehealth technology enables the provision of a timely, effective, and culturally informed remote primary health service.

“Telehealth also helps rural and remote patients along their health journey: pre-and post-medical procedure visits, as well as ongoing check-ups can all be performed virtually.

“To launch your rural or remote telehealth service, here is my go-to list of technology recommendations.”

Photo of internet modem with person on mobile device in the background
Source: iStock. Pictured: Photo of internet modem with person on mobile device in the background

ITEM #1

Connectivity

The first thing that is required to operate a clinical telehealth service is an optimal broadband internet connection.

A clinical telehealth video-call service requires a stable, low-latency connection that provides upload and download speeds of around 1.5 megabits/second.

In remote areas, internet connectivity can be patchy. Infrastructure may not exist and/or there could be connection blank spots. Other times, access can be impacted by weather conditions including storms, rain, and extreme heat.

The Visionflex telehealth system can work around all these connectivity issues: video calls can be conducted via cable and Wi-Fi in areas where there is good connectivity. Our ProEX Mobile – a portable, rugged telehealth device – can operate with a 4G SIM card.

In areas where there is no terrestrial connection, satellite connections – for example Telstra’s Sky Muster satellite internet service – can be used to perform telehealth consultations.

In some of the most remote areas of New South Wales and South Australia, where internet connectivity is notoriously problematic or non-existent, the Royal Flying Doctor Service is providing a clinical telehealth service using Visionflex technology, via Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet constellation.

ITEM #2

The technology to perform reliable video calls

Traditional video-call platforms are fine if you want to schedule a remote catch up with work colleagues or family and friends on your smartphone.

But if you need to provide a quality clinical telehealth service for patients, you require a medical grade video-call platform.

Visionflex technology is designed specifically for health and allied health settings. We offer software and hardware technology options to perform reliable video calls, even in low-bandwidth environments, including:

Photo of ProEX Desktop and ProEX Mobile telehealth devices
Pictured: ProEX Mobile (left) and ProEX Desktop Hub.
Logo for ProEX by Visionflex

The ProEX Desktop and ProEX Mobile enable high-speed, secure, end-to-end encrypted, live video calls for any number of participants in a telehealth video consultation.

Additionally, the ProEX system can integrate with diagnostic imaging devices such as general examination cameras, otoscopes, ultrasounds, dental cameras, and ECG, allowing health practitioners to perform detailed medical examinations and share live, diagnostic imaging on screen in real time.

The ProEX video-call software also supports other medical devices including digital stethoscopes, pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitoring and blood glucose monitors, thermometers, and weight scales.

Patient data and media collected during the video call can be automatically uploaded to the practice management system, electronic health record, and/or local area network. Patient data/media can be retrieved for review during a consultation via video call.

The ProEX Desktop can be easily moved around the clinic on a Telehealth Cart or stored in a secure Telehealth Cabinet. For patient rounds and field visits, the ProEX Mobile can be transported in the Telehealth Backpack with built-in wheels.

photo of Visionflex digital products
Pictured: The system of modules that make up the Vision virtual care software platform by Visionflex.
Logo of Vision Telehealth Platform by Visionflex

Vision is our easy-to-use, low-cost telehealth software platform that enables medical grade video-call consultations on PCs, Apple Macs, tablets, and smartphones. Vision also seamlessly integrates with our ProEX product solutions.

With the touch of a button, Vision quickly and easily initiates a video medical consultation on an internet-connected digital device – anywhere, anytime.

Intrinsically scalable, Vision can be customised to suite telehealth services of all sizes from small community clinics to large regional hospitals, making use of existing ICT infrastructure.

Vision features bandwidth-optimising technology that delivers diagnostic quality video and audio as well as high-speed data transmission and end-to-end encryption.

ITEM #3

A toolkit of clinical telehealth monitoring devices.

The Visionflex system is unique because it supports a suite of integrated medical devices.

With these approved devices, it is possible for medical practices to provide a remote clinical telehealth service, revolutionising the way a physician or nurse can examine, diagnose, monitor, and treat remote patients via video-call consultations.

Photo of GEIS General Examination Camera with light and dermatology hood attachment
Logo of GEIS General Examination Camera HD

General Examination Camera HD

Accurate diagnosis requires attention to detail and high-quality imaging. The multi-purpose GEIS® full HD 1080p camera with high intensity LED illumination provides greater detail and more flexibility. USB connection.

Photo of USB video otoscope in stand

Video USB Otoscope

Precision optics, high-intensity LED illumination and professional-grade camera electronics support the practitioner in making an accurate diagnosis. 5-50mm depth of focus and 60° field of view. USB connection.

Photo of hand using Thinklabs One digital stethoscope on male patient's neck

Digital Stethoscope

Designed specifically for telemedicine, stream crystal clear heart, lung and body sounds to make informed medical decisions from a distance. USB connection.

Photo of hands holding portable electrocardiogram device

Portable ECG Heart Monitor

Patient readings and waveforms can be viewed on screen, recorded, and stored against patient records.

Photo of blood pressure monitor with arm cuff

Blood Pressure Cuff with Integrated Pump

Quick and easy blood pressure monitor with A&Ds Continua Certified system, ensuring consistent, precise readings. Bluetooth® connection.

Photo of a in-ear infrared thermometer and forehead infrared thermometer in hands

Infrared Thermometers

Fast and simple patient temperature readings in one second with in-ear or forehead models, all with Bluetooth® connection.

Photo of Choicemed black wireless pulse oximeter

Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

Non-invasive, fast, accurate measurement for patient oxygen saturation (SpO2) and pulse rate (PR). Bluetooth® connection.

Photo of Accu-Chek blood glucose monitor

Blood Glucose Monitor

Quickly transfer accurate blood glucose readings via Bluetooth® to a ProEX telehealth device. Easy to read backlit display with fast glucose readings and auto power-off.

Photo of video examination glasses

Video Examination Glasses HD

High definition, USB-connected video glasses with three-metre cable for hands-free imaging.

Photo of hand holding C-U2 dental camera

Dental Intraoral Camera HD C-U2

The latest technology in intraoral cameras. Easy to use, designed for more maximum patient comfort, high-definition image quality and super-bright LED illumination. Instantly recognise and display cavities and plaque. USB connection.


Visionflex – the remote healthcare experts.