Logitech Webcams Enable Telepsychiatry Sessions

 
 
By Brian T. Horowitz  |  Posted 2011-12-02
 
 
 

Known for computer peripherals and home entertainment equipment such as speakers and remotes, Logitech has entered the health care space with its Webcams, which enable doctors and patients to connect on a telepsychiatry platform from Secure Telehealth.

Secure Telehealth provides psychiatry services over an encrypted cloud-based Web platform for mentally ill patients or those on psychotropic drugs.

The company targets its telepsychiatry platform to doctors in large cities who need to treat patients in rural areas who can't get to a psychiatrist's office. Patients can use the Secure Telehealth service in homes, clinics or in schools.

Telehealth services are a growing option for doctors and patients who can't connect in an actual office. Companies such as American Well and UnitedHealthGroup provide virtual face-to-face care for patients in remote areas.

"This has become the very important component: the ability to treat behavioral health clients in a rural town," Jim Mountain, owner of Secure Telehealth, told eWEEK. "The alternative of doing this is having a psychiatrist in a high-rise office building."

By using the Web platform, doctors can assess patients' mental wellbeing. Physicians access the virtual meeting rooms for $300 per month. The service requires a Webcam, a microphone and Secure Telehealth software on client machines.

Secure Telehealth uses the Nefsis cloud video conferencing service to connect doctors and patients. Nefsis provides multipoint high-definition video conferencing along with Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) encryption.

Meanwhile, Logitech's Webcams allow doctors and patients to see each other at 30 frames per second. Logitech says this frame rate allows doctors to observe patients who may have facial twitches or show signs of drug use.

These frame rates have made telehealth work on PC-based video conferencing platforms, according to Eric Kintz, vice president and general manager, Logitech for Business. 

"The quality of the cloud services, combined with broadband access and with the quality of our cameras where you can see HD quality, just creates the next level of adoption in the industry," Kintz told eWEEK.

To access the network, physicians send a link to clinics to join the conference and record notes in electronic health record (EHR) applications during sessions, according to Secure Telehealth.

Schools use the cloud service when kids are taking mental health medication and need to be examined by a doctor during the day.

"The alternative of doing this in the school nurse's office is a godsend," Mountain said. "The school gets to have that kid in class for the rest of day."

Secure Telehealth had to work around a school district's firewall, however, with the service's encrypted SSL packets, Mountain said.

The Logitech Webcams are an alternative to pricier enterprise services such as the Cisco VX Clinical Assistant, which costs thousands of dollars. The VX Clinical Assistant is a mobile telemedicine cart that provides HD video collaboration between doctors and patients.

"The quality of the image on the screen with a PC and Webcam is approaching what can be done with the much more expensive equipment," Mountain said.

Logitech models compatible with the Secure Telehealth platform include the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910, selling for $84.99. The C910 features Logitech's Fluid Crystal technology, which has a proprietary algorithm to adjust frame rate, color and sharpness.

In addition to telepsychiatry services, first responders also use Logitech's Webcams to conduct video conferencing sessions on tablets, Kintz said.

 


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