Yorkshire-headquartered technology specialist Vapour Cloud has launched what it claims to be the first video tool of its kind for the UK healthcare sector, powered by a free, simple SMS.
TeleDOC will enable GPs and other medical professionals to hold secure, encrypted, recordable, geo-tagged video calls with their patients, wherever they are located, on any device.
With WebRTC technology at the heart of the product, the result is the ability to efficiently discuss and diagnose health issues remotely, before storing the encrypted video file in a secure vault.
And, because TeleDOC works by sending the patient a one-time-use SMS or email, with hyperlink, which automatically activates the video consultation, there is no cost to the user. With no username, password or app required – only two clicks to authorise the camera – the result is maximum ease of use, before the appointment is carried out in much the same way as a face-to-face scenario. The patient also has the appointment with their own GP, rather than a stranger.
Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer explains: “So many healthcare appointments involve a patient who is either in some form of discomfort or suffering from contagious symptoms. Because TeleDOC circumnavigates the need for them to physically travel to their appointment, the benefits are clear.
“The video element means the doctor have visual cues that can help diagnose and advise, and the secure post-appointment storage of the file provides a valuable point of reference further down the line.”
This is not the first time that video technologies have been utilised within the healthcare sector, elaborates Tim. But existing solutions are comparatively cost prohibitive.
“TeleDOC has been purposefully-developed so that it is easy to use, regardless of the patient’s technical literacy,” he said. “There is also no need to download – and pay for – a costly app. This is an important SMS-powered service delivered by the surgery – there shouldn’t be a charge to the patient.
“From a data security perspective, it is also fully compliant, which is of paramount importance in a world of mounting cybercrime risks and GDPR obligations. The secure vault means the data can be shared with other encrypted users to streamline a patient’s care from start to finish, but amidst security concerns surrounding existing apps, ours is extremely robust. In fact, TeleDOC has already attracted the attention of Government ministers keen to look closer at healthcare technology.”
The launch of TeleDOC follows 12 months of development and an extensive three-month beta phase. It follows the August 2018 release of Vapour’s GP appointment booking system.
“We’ve seen telehealth begin to revolutionise the administration of healthcare advice in the US so, given the strain being placed on the UK’s medical infrastructure, it’s about time technology eased some of the pressures,” added Tim.
“We’re increasingly using WebRTC in our personal lives, via What’sApp for instance. But the UK has been slow to adapt to the wider utilisation of this powerful application – until now. We’re unbelievably excited to see the impact that TeleDOC has. What’s more, we already have six other applications of the video consultation technology in beta testing in very different sectors. So, watch this space!”