Not quite “All right, I’m ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille”, but members of staff at St Andrew’s Healthcare are now appearing on the small screen in a pioneering secure video conferencing project that is helping to keep people connected.
The UK’s leading mental healthcare charity is using a browser-based solution from AVM to provide a straight-forward video conferencing service which is secure and cost-effective.
All anyone needs to take part is a PC with an internet connection and a web camera, along with password and meeting identification number provided by St Andrew’s.
Ben Meade, Head of IT & Deputy IT Director at St Andrew’s, says: “Using AVM’s desktop solution we can help doctors or family members keep in touch.
“We were originally asked if we could make available one of the free internet services that offer voice and video calls and chats. We checked what was available and realised there was great potential for the Charity, but that the public services would not meet our needs for confidentiality and security.”
Then the search was on for a suitable secure version which would be easy to provide, manage and use. The AVM solution met the requirements. It is a fully managed video service. No new hardware, software or bandwidth was needed, because the whole service is provided over AVM’s dedicated network, offering high quality images, reliability and security.
Ben Meade says: “This solution allows all types of connection and equipment, so it was easy to introduce. It’s available around the clock and to any location. Because of the security built in to the system, we can use it for virtual meetings between staff. We can also provide a confidential and convenient environment at any of our sites for our users to keep in touch with their friends, family and care team. No other provider of secure mental healthcare services currently offers anything similar.
“It was easy to set up a trial of the system and we soon realised that it would be valuable to improve collaboration between out multi-disciplinary teams, and save travelling costs. We have also been able to provide a truly international service to our customers, linking up a user in Northampton with one of his care team who was away in India and family members in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. We realised that it also offered real benefits to people using our services for deaf people, because they can still benefit from seeing a British Sign Language interpreter.
“Of course we have to be sensitive to how the system is used – not everything can be managed by the technology. We have set up a booking system to be sure everyone is available at the right time. We have also developed guidelines which help users to be aware of the environment in which they are using the service and that they can not only be heard, but seen too – that makes it a very different sort of communication.
“We will continue to advertise the benefits and promote adoption of the technology, scaling up as necessary.”