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Coviu vs Skype for Telehealth

HealthTech 5 August 2018

A guest post by Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, CEO of Telehealth platform Coviu Global Pty Ltd

Screenshots of Coviu on Desktop, iPad and phone with an Audiology session.

This picture shows an Audiologist working with a patient and their GP remotely as a collaborative care consultation via telehealth. Up to 4 parties may participate in the same Coviu call and soon a multi-peer feature will allow up to 12 call participants — ideal for group therapy sessions.

As part of the consultation, the practitioner is working through some clinical resources to give context to the patient by using Coviu’s shared document and whiteboard features to explain clearly with pictures, diagrams and sketches.

Using annotations, shared documents and drawing tools, the clinician can easily markup areas of relevance, providing text comments and sketches of inventions — a really engaging interaction for the patient, don’t you think?

This is how Coviu differs — with Skype you would not be able to hold such a feature-rich and interactive video call.

Coviu is much more than people talking to each other. The interaction is centred around content — documents, clinical exercises, test results, data from medical instruments and telemonitoring cameras and devices.


How is Coviu different to Skype?

There are three main differences when it comes to telehealth.

#1 Coviu is a peer-to-peer system — video calls are encrypted end-to-end which makes it more secure than traditional systems. Encrypted data is only transmitted between the participants — not intercepted or stored on a server so data cannot be recorded and controlled by a non-Australian entity. Coviu’s high level of security is compliant to the Australian Privacy Policy and legal requirements about handling medical data.

#2 Coviu does not require any special software. The connection is via a Web browser only. This is particularly important for the patient, who doesn’t want to install new software every time they are simply meeting with another person. The enabling technology is an open international standard called WebRTC which makes it simple for both patients and practitioners to access and is available on all laptops and devices.

#3 Coviu does not require your patients to sign up. They simply click the link to your consultation room which you will have sent them and they can enter the consultation by simply taking a snap-shot photo and inputting their first and last name so you can easily confirm it is the correct patient entering the consultation. This can be done via a browser tab on desktop or via the Coviu app on a mobile or tablet.

Key Telehealth Feature Comparison:

Feature comparison between Coviu, Skype, WebEx, Twilio and Tokbox.


Patient confidentiality and system security

Coviu: Once a session is started, information (video or files) is shared only between the call participants. All data is encrypted and no information is retained by the system.

Skype: Calls are managed by servers that may be located in Australia or elsewhere. Confidential patient information is not just between the Doctor and patient — it may not be secure. It is possible for another person to enter the call — and this has happened.


Professional Service Delivery

Coviu: Designed specifically for professional service delivery. That means secure and high-quality interaction between people, information, and devices — sharing, annotating and saving documents and images.

Skype: Initially designed for IP phone calls and then followed by video links. Screen and file share is hard to use and there is no annotation capability.


Flexible workflows, call transfers and waiting rooms

Coviu: Designed to work like a medical practice. Patients may be attended to by a receptionist (to attend to administrative issues) and then transferred to a doctor for all or part of a session.

Reception or other team members may also join a session (if the Doctor permits) coordinate treatment or other plans. Eg. to book a follow-up appointment or make a referral.

Skype: Typically requires that either the Doctor calls the patient directly or vice-versa. This can create scheduling and coordination issues if parties are running late or need to change appointment times.


Integrations for streamlining workflow

Coviu: Can be integrated with practice management systems to enable appointment and calendar integration.

For example, a medical practice may provide access for consultations directly from an existing website.

Skype: A stand-alone system with integration into Microsoft products.


Customisable for Business

Coviu: Customisable consultation rooms that reflect your brand colours, logo and style – basically white labelling the application for your business.

Skype: Does not have the ability to customise your colours or add your logo.


In Summary:

Skype has been built and is suitable for conversations with family and friends – but it is not made for delivering a professional clinical service and its lack of security makes it very risky to use and may compromise patient data security. Its features are also limited to call and chat only with no way of sharing information, test results and medical imagines etc.

Telehealth is really lighting the way for future Healthcare and it’s vital that quality and secure video conferencing software be used. Software such a Coviu’s that can really enhance conversations and educate patients as well as providing convenience and an easy way to connect with healthcare practitioners on demand.

Want to give Coviu a go?

Claim your free trial of the professional plan, giving you full access to our favourite features for an entire month on us! https://coviu.com/checkout/professional

Prefer a live Coviu demo?

No problem you can book a 30-minute session here — https://meetings.hubspot.com/jo24


Silvia Pfeiffer

CEO of Coviu, a cloud application focused on enabling healthcare providers to set up video consultation services for patients. Coviu's focus is to take away all the technical overhead from introducing a telehealth service. This includes all the challenges involved in integrating with existing workflows as well as integrating rich clinical tools into the live consult. Silvia has more than 16 years of experience with Web video technology. She has previously worked for Google, Mozilla, NICTA, and CSIRO and has been involved in creating the Web standards that underpin the Coviu technology. Silvia has a double degree in computer science and business management but has in the last 5 years worked with allied health providers, GP clinics and medical specialists to develop a telehealth solution that fits their needs.


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