Vidyo unveils new telemedicine platform

By Eric Wicklund
07:49 AM

Vidyo, Inc., is giving healthcare executives something to talk about as they head to San Antonio for next week’s American Telemedicine Association conference.

On Wednesday, the Hackensack, N.J.-based healthcare IT company unveiled VidyoHealth, described as a scalable video conferencing suite that leverages the Internet and other general-purpose IP networks for a broad range of healthcare uses, including home healthcare, speech therapy, specialist consultations and telepsychiatry.

“Vidyo is fulfilling the real promise of telehealth, which is to make healthcare affordable and accessible to everyone,” said Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo’s CEO and co-founder. “Until now, telehealth solutions from legacy providers were built on enterprise-centric models requiring expensive, dedicated QoS networks in order to deliver high-quality video and audio. This was not practical for medical practitioners who needed to connect with remotely located patients and facilities. VidyoHealth uses the Internet and other non-QoS networks to deliver telepresence-quality, low-latency, natural communications.”

VidyoHealth’s components include the VidyoDesktop software client for Macs, Windows or Linux; a VidyoClick touch-screen solution for home-based services; the VidyoPortal appliance for Web-based management services; a VidyoRouter for call processing and routing; VidyoRoom systems with optional mobile medical carts; and the VidyoGateway, an optional connectivity device to link the system to legacy H.323 or SIP end points.

Telemedicine applications are enjoying newfound popularity as the nation’s healthcare network looks to expand beyond the traditional hospital and clinic setting. Aside from the ATA conference next week, which is expected to draw thousands of healthcare executives and vendors, the issue was featured at a panel discussion during this week’s Institute for Health Technology Transformation Spring Summit in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Amnon Gavish, senior vice president of vertical solutions for Vidyo, said during the HITT summit that telemedicine’s success lies in the telecommunications network upon which it rests. As providers look to connect physicians in their office with specialists in other locations and patients at home, they need a secure platform upon which to operate, and in real time.

Jonathan Edwards, a vice president of research for Gartner, Inc., said telemedicine is enjoying an increase in use and interest, but needs to continue to evolve.

“High definition video solutions need to be affordable, secure and accessible via broadband and the Internet to expand medical reach to remote patients and facilities,” he said. “Telemedicine systems must interoperate with other medical equipment and applications. Solution providers that are able to successfully address these challenges will have an advantage.”

Among VidyoHealth’s early users is the North Region Health Alliance, a collection of 20 hospitals and a mental health organization covering 20,000 square miles of rural Minnesota and North Dakota. Executive Director Jon Linnell said the solution enables providers to link with patients when travel is impossible. He said the system will be deployed in nursing homes and home healthcare settings and used for consultations with mental health and wound care specialists.

“Vidyo is currently saving an enormous amount of time and money for a huge number of people,” he said.