Video conferencing is used in m.Care to connect a subject with a care team for a visual, video call. The m.Care system offers the ability to plug in to an existing system. m.Care automatically pools patient accounts to minimize license fees, care team member existing accounts may be used, the system contains a large amount of logging capability and other special features are offered as described below.
Supported Video Conferencing Tools
The m.Care system was designed to incorporate existing video conferencing tools rather than including those tools embedded in the system. This decision was based on the fact that most clients, especially hospitals, already have video conferencing equipment or agreements in place with large video conferencing vendors.
To accommodate this model of “use your own video conferencing” the m.Care software was designed to allow for video conferencing to be plugged in to the m.Care platform.
Currently, plug ins have been developed for Vidyo and Zoom conferencing solutions.
The video conferencing model is one of “subject enters room and care team members join patients in that room”. The idea being that each subject that is active in the department is assigned a room of their own. This mimics the common clinical environment where a patient is placed in a room and the care team joins the patient in the room to discuss their health needs.
Joining a Call
Subjects join a video call by simply pressing a button within the m.Care iDevice application. The m.Care application connects the subject to their “room” using the APIs of the supported video conferencing platform.
The care team joins a call by going to the Video Conferencing tab within the subject’s notebook and clicking the “Join Call” button.
Subject Video Account Pooling
Because most video conferencing vendors charge a license fee for using a video conferencing system “per person”, the m.Care platform has a video conferencing account “pooling” mechanism built in. If a department is using video conferencing, a pool of accounts is allocated for the patients. Each time a new patient is activated in the department, a video account is allocated from the pool. When the patient is no longer active in the department, their video account is returned to the pool for another patient to use at a later date.
Care Team Video Accounts
Care team members often are assigned video credentials by their IT department to the Video Tennant. As such, care team accounts are not pooled by the m.Care system. Rather, the account credentials for the care team member are entered into the “My Profile” application on the monitor for that care team member.
Note that care team account credentials must be entered for each department that that care team member works with in m.Care. If a care team member has 5 departments that they service, but only one set of video account credentials, those credentials still must be entered 5 times (one per department) by signing on, selecting the department, clicking the “Profile” app and entering the credentials.
The m.Care platform captures logs of the use of the video conferencing system. It also provides reports on these logs so that the care team can track who has been on the call for how long.
Automatically Terminating Calls
The m.Care platform has a configurable batch job that can be set to run at a predefined time of night. When run, the job will hang up all calls as of that time. This is useful for calls where people have forgotten to disconnect from the call. As your m.Care team to configure this job for you given a time of day you wish calls to be shut down.
Force Joined Calls
The m.Care platform has a mechanism that allows a care team member with sufficient authority to force-join a call with a patient. The idea here is that in some cases a patient may not be able to answer a call (perhaps they are unable to move or are bed ridden). In this case, the m.Care platform does allow a care team member to force start a call, placing the patients iDevice into the video conference.
This mechanism should only be used in the situations described above due to the inherent privacy problems it may cause.
Call an Expert
The m.Care application supports allowing an existing call to request the assistance of experts. For example, a common usage of this mechanism is to invite a national language translator to join a call with a patient that may not speak the same national language as the care team.
Please ask the m.Care team about this feature. Configuration changes are made by the m.Care team to enable the “call an expert” feature.
Video conference success is often the direct result of the quality of the communications line between the care team member, the subject and the video conferencing server.
The m.Care system incorporates simple tools to use to mark the quality of a call. This subjective assessment of the quality of the call can help IT teams tune their communications for a patient to help the care team get a better call path in place with the patient in the future.
The Line Quality tools are available on the Video Conferencing tab of the subject notebook.
Controlling a Conference
The care team has tools within m.Care that allows them to control aspects of a call. They can force the termination of a call. They can resize windows on the subject’s iDevice. They can even cause web pages to display to the patient so that pictures/text on the page can be discussed with the patient while on the call.