Virtual House Call – Web Cam Based Clinical Visit

Posted on June 15, 2007 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve really wondered why there aren’t a ton of popular products out there that capitalize on the now very inexpensive web cams that are out there. When reading through EMRUpdate, I found a post that talks about a company called Whistlebox. They may be getting close to what I’m talking about.

A new potential tech twist to the doctor patient relationship. The Whistlebox Virtual House Call. Smile Whistlebox is a browser based video audio communication program. Nothing to download or upload. The catch appears to be one must have a computer and a web cam the rest is basically automatic. Whistlebox can be integrated into your intranet or portal, or as an add-on to your own products and services. Why is whistleBox different?

Three main reasons: User Speed & Ease – no downloads, no plug-ins, no hassle to watch and enjoy immediately! And, with web cameras, users dont have to shoot, edit and upload video, your audience is a click away from creating content & participating in an online video community. Integration Speed & Ease the whistleBox platform is quickly & easily integrated into client servers; and, into client sites as it sits on a layer on top of your site once clicked. No reason to redesign your site, whistleBox is easily skin-able to match the look and feel of your site.

Whistlebox, which is now in beta, was built over the last 12 months by a pair of programmers using Java, MySQL, Flash Media Server, and Flex for Flash 9, and can be made to work with most content distribution networks. The interface can be totally customized and re-branded as needed. The word “Whistlebox” need never appear.

I don’t think this was meant for doctors, but it really would be an interesting way for doctors to connect with their patients. I’m not sure insurances would cover this (which has always been a problem with “online visits”). However, the technology would be great and I’d be interested in using it. I know when I go to the doctor and all I do is get my temperature taken and get a script for Penicillin, I feel quite ripped off and wondered why I had to waste all that time and energy in a sickly state just to see him for 5 seconds and get a script he could have given me over the phone (or online in this case).

Any doctors interested in trying this out? You could even probably capture the video as you go and save it to your EMR. That’s what I call great documentation of a visit. Not to mention, I think that video capture of visits is the future of health care.