"When we first started this project, we planned to use satellite as the means of communication", commented Dr. Stephen J. Fath, director of Information Technology for the Medical School and of Interactive Video Services for the Houston Health Science Center's Office of Academic Computing. "It was extremely complicated and very expensive. Subsequent use of traditional videoconferencing over a T1 line proved simpler, but was still unwieldy to manage and somewhat unreliable. Now, with the use of First Virtual's Click to Meet technology and IP networking, the communication process has been greatly simplified. Plus, we are able to provide free medical care much more cost-effectively to people who otherwise would not receive it."
Telemedicine has been an important part of the University's Texas-Mexico Border health project since the late 1990's in linking the Rio Grande Valley and the main campus in Houston, Texas. It was only natural to extend that link to the mobile medical van to provide health care services and education to the areas federally designated as a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) and a Health Professions Shortage Area (HPSA).
Over 4500 patients were served in 2000 and 5582 immunisations were provided to children that might otherwise have gone untreated. In addition to providing treatment, the mobile unit provides an excellent means for medical students to get hands-on field training while still being in contact with the health care professionals for consultation.
Dr. Fath continued: "The overall impact of the project is to provide not only primary health care services, but also much needed secondary health care services to residents, thereby offering potential savings to the state by reaching those in need before the medical care evolves into more serious health problems and more costly treatments. First Virtual's Click to Meet Conference Server technology is an integral part of making this happen for this community."
Bob Romano, vice president of marketing for First Virtual, commented: "The University's mobile van has served many disadvantaged patients, and we are thrilled to participate in this long-term, successful project. This is an innovative application which takes advantage of our Click to Meet conferencing solutions and showcases how our technology can greatly aid a community in need. Like the University, other health care organisations, educational institutions and corporate enterprises use our award-winning products for their reliability, ease of use, ease of deployment, flexibility and cost-efficiency. We look forward to working with the University for their continued success."
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has been a First Virtual Communications customer since 1999. It was created by the UT System Board of Regents and supported by the Texas Legislature in 1972. Located in the world renowned Texas Medical Center, it brings together the Dental Branch, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Medical School, the School of Public Health, the School of Nursing, the School of Health Information Sciences, the UT Harris County Psychiatric Center, and the Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Disease. The university pursues its mission through a comprehensive approach to health.
First Virtual Communications is a premier provider of next generation Web conferencing and collaboration solutions. It delivers award-winning integrated communications solutions that address the needs of business people who need to work together remotely to collaborate, train, demonstrate or sell. The company has defined the next generation of Web conferencing by adding optional video with easier enterprise deployment and a potentially greater return on investment.
The company's Click to Meet products provide business quality communication by supporting a wide range of industry standards and work in existing customer environments. The company's solutions integrate seamlessly with existing tools and methodologies, such as e-mail and Web browsing, while extending the advantages of instant messaging and collaboration environments, such as MSN Messenger and Microsoft Exchange. The company's innovative solutions are deployed in over 1400 customer sites worldwide, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and service providers with installations of up to 8000 seats.