Video-collaboration company Tely Labs has unveiled the TelyMed MTS-100 Mobile Station, a telemedicine cart that allows hospitals and clinics to conference in specialists to evaluate patients remotely.
Introduced on May 6 at the American Telemedicine Association conference in Austin, Texas, the plug-and-play MTS-100 combines Tely Labs' TelyHD video-calling appliance, TelyMed software service and an HDTV screen.
The TelyHD Calling System connects to the HDMI port of a television and features an HD camera, four noise-canceling microphones and Skype.
Tely Labs markets its telemedicine products to small hospitals and clinics at less than one-third the price of competing models, the company claimed.
The MTS-100 sells for less than $12,000, depending on its options. "That's going to appeal to those hospitals without big budgets who haven't been able to offer this type of service," Dave Crilley, vice president of enterprise marketing at Tely Labs, told eWEEK.
The MTS-100 is also being marketed to assisted living and hospice facilities, he said.
"A widening digital divide has prevented many underfunded health-care facilities from accessing the technology that would help them offer a broader range of care to more people," Sreekanth Ravi, president and CEO of Tely Labs, said in a statement. "Affordable telemedicine can change that scenario."
The cart supports both Skype and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standard-based calling. The MTS-100 connects to up to six devices at once, including laptops, tablets, mobile phones or other high-end devices.
The cart also features an antimicrobial surface.
Before Tely Labs introduced the MTS-100, its multipoint 720p telehealth video appliance was fixed to a TV in a hospital room or assisted living facility, according to the company.
Although the unit features WiFi connectivity, most hospital clinicians will wheel it from room to room and plug it into an Ethernet jack, Crilley said.
Telemedicine services such as Tely Labs provide the health-care industry with a way to cut costs by eliminating the need to have specialists on staff in a hospital or clinic, Tely Labs reported.
"It's all about quick access to the specialists," Crilley said. Hospitals don't want specialists on call around-the-clock in a hospital, but time in getting to a specialist is critical, he noted.
For example, a patient having a stroke has a narrow window of no more than three hours to begin taking medication that can limit the physiological effects, he said. The telemedicine cart can provide this quick access to a specialist, Crilley explained.
When patients have to leave a hospital to see a specialist in another facility, hospitals lose money, Crilley said. "It's a great incentive for health-care providers to try and keep those patients."
The MTS-100 provides quick access to radiologists, psychologists and neurologists, Crilley noted.
Although the carts are designed for inpatients, Tely Labs is also conducting a trial to allow patients to connect to doctors in their homes using a cable modem and a Tely HD device that plugs into a patient's television, Crilley said.
"In health care, the incentive is about avoiding re-admissions and to be able to keep patients at home but still provide that level of service, and visiting virtually really makes a lot of sense," Crilley said.
The TelyMed system supports Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) - 256 encryption. Other security features include call logging, and call locking to disable inbound video calls, Skype Public Telephone Switched Network calls and lock calls going out to named accounts only.