Customised toolset delivers integrated telehealth solution to the Canadian clinician's desktop

Halifax 18 November 1999TecKnowledge Healthcare Systems Inc., based in Nova Scotia, and Visual Telecommunications Network Inc., headquartered in Vienna, Virginia and referred to as ViTel Net, have established a new telehealth alliance. The relationship brings together the expertise of two leaders and pioneers in the telehealth industry and unites the strength of their telehealth experience. As such, ViTel Net and TecKnowledge will offer a holistic approach to telehealth implementation for Canadian health care organisations to benefit from.

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The rapid growth and maturation of the telehealth industry very much depends on the ability to provide adaptable solutions to health care providers. Technology must be quickly and seamlessly integrated into the existing environment, allowing practitioners to deliver services through a user-friendly platform. The selected approach must be all encompassing, taking into account factors from existing systems and procedures to staffing and training.

ViTel Net has developed a software toolset, enabling the rapid deployment of customised telehealth applications. From a desk-top computer, point and click operations create multimedia patient records which can include video clips and still images. Instead of taking months to create a tailored interface, it now takes days or even hours.

The "Telemedicine Toolbox" allows the company to configure from the desktop each screen interface and patient record. The end user is able to define and create exactly what he needs, which is very different from the off-the-shelf products found on the market, according to the Vitel Net Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Allen Izadpanah. The integration capabilities of this solution are unsurpassed. With hundreds of installations throughout the world, ViTel Net systems are time-tested, as Mr. Izadpanah states.

TecKnowledge Healthcare Systems brings its strength as the market leader in telehealth implementation in Canada. The company's telehealth solution includes assessment of telehealth opportunities, as well as definition of the telehealth solution, implementation, education and training, support, and ongoing management.

TecKnowledge approaches telehealth from a clinical perspective. The health care providers work with the company in defining telehealth needs, assisting in developing processes and determining which technical solution allows to best meet the clinical environment, as Linda Weaver, TecKnowledge's Chief Technical Officer comments. Once the system is in place, training, support and maintenance are keys to success.

The Telehealth Cycle describes the complete solution:

  • Telehealth Assessment, providing the foundation upon which telehealth is considered an option for the delivery of clinical services.
  • Solution Definition, defining the broad basis of a telehealth service and its application for a specific site.
  • Solution Development, creating a telehealth solution that integrates the clinical, technical and operational components.
  • Solution Implementation, including project management, preparation of the site, installation, testing and training.
  • Telehealth Management, Support and Evolution, involving a full range of services to assist in the ongoing operation of the telehealth network to ensure its viability and sustainability.

The approaches taken by ViTel Net and TecKnowledge create a formula for success. To thrive, a telehealth programme needs to fit seamlessly into the clinical and administrative processes of the health care delivery system, as stated by Dorothy Spence, TecKnowledge President and Chief Executive Officer. Mrs. Spence continues that there is something unique about every telehealth situation encountered and is convinced that the toolset developed by ViTel Net together with TecKnowledge's offerings address the uniqueness of each end user and health care environment, creating a well defined and efficient strategy for the delivery of telehealth.


Leslie Versweyveld

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