Getting Flawless Telemedicine - Internet Reliability Is Key
Telehealth using technology has been around since the 19th century, along with the invention of the telephone. Modern telehealth, using Internet and streaming video started in the mid 2000s. Since 2020, 15 years after that, we saw a boom in telemedicine services.
As remote consultations are done via the Internet through video streaming, your connection is what makes and breaks a successful session. If your Internet is slow and unreliable, the discussion about your medical history and all other processes involved will be impacted. And when you're playing with people's lives, that's nothing to take lightly.
Michael Reeder, LCPC at Hygeia Counseling Services was kind enough to share his story of succeeding at psychotherapy remote consultations in spite of Internet issues.
Michael Reeder is a psychotherapist in Baltimore. He sees a large number of clients per week and has already been doing some video calls for years.
The area in Baltimore City where he is located has questionable Internet service, so he has got his share of fighting to stay online. Having an Internet related professional background, he is more familiar with such products and services than most therapists. "What was hard was the hours and hours of testing out video platforms and ISPs.", says Michael, talking about the transition to fully remote consulting.
What Are Some Common Telehealth Internet Issues?
"Initially several of the video platforms were not up to the challenge of the additional usage load. I am required to utilize HIPAA compliant video, so some of the usual candidates were ruled out. I ran through 4 or 5 video platforms before settling on two", said Michael.
But then, he faced the most important challenge when it comes to telemedicine: the slow and unreliable Internet connectivity. "I also ran through a small nightmare of ISP throttling problems - month-to-month services being cut off despite proper use, VoIP phones being blocked, throttling well prior to monthly limits, unannounced and unacknowledged daily and weekly throttling limits I had to discover, etc. Part of the issue here I speculate is that 4-8 hours of videoconferencing per day puts me in the top percentage of Internet users and makes me unpopular with ISPs", thinks Michael.
Solutions for Hassle-Free Remote Consultations
As mentioned above, Michael is more knowledgeable of the Internet field than most psychotherapists. So he knew what he needed:
- not have to switch ISPs in the middle of video calls
- dynamic load-balancing so that when one of my cellular broadband services hits a usage limit, the other ISPs would be used more to compensate.
Finally, when a client in the live events streaming business suggested Speedify, he gave it a go... and the rest is a success story - see below.
The Result: Improved Telehealth Sessions under Adverse Conditions
As explained above, Michael had to juggle between several ISPs to be able to run his online consultations every day. And there were inherent "bumps in the road" like losing video connection, for example.
"Speedify greatly lowers the number of video freezes and disconnects. It keeps me from having to switch ISPs 1-3 times in the middle of a client session. The video quality is not always perfect, but the reliability of the connection is much improved", said Michael.
He uses a combination of 3 ISPs: Comcast, T-Mobile and AT&T, doing a mix of those depending on the time of day and what system the client's on. "Speedify lets me not have to switch between them all the time and just do my job."
"I hope that office workers and psychotherapists in areas with weak internet connectivity take a look at Speedify. You're already addressing people who move around all the time and do live streaming, but even some people in stationary spots, if they've got a weak internet connection, could use this. It's mission critical for me and many others", concluded Michael.
How Speedify Can Help You
Whether you're a doctor, counselor, therapist or patient, you can get the best telehealth services when you have a fast and reliable Internet connection. When you’re having issues with your Internet connection, try using all your available connections simultaneously. At the very least, along with the home or event location Internet, you certainly have a smartphone with a cellular data plan. You’ll get more reliable and faster Internet. That's one of the essential ingredients for a successful telemedicine session.
Even if you don’t have two or more connections available, Speedify can still help. Its powerful error correction algorithms minimize packet loss on wireless networks. So even if you only have one connection available, Speedify will still be able to help you with more reliable Internet.