Feros Care selects LifeSize for telework, telehealth

The aged and community care organisation is using high-definition video conferencing technology used to bridge geographical distance between disparate staff and to provide telehealth services.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

Feros Care has rolled out LifeSize video conferencing technology for staff and deployed the technology for its National Broadband Network (NBN) telehealth services pilot.

The not-for-profit organisation provides aged and community care to roughly 800 people.

The organisation's facilities span 1,000km across the Australian Eastern seaboard, and Feros Care wanted to bridge the geographical gap between staff and to prevent unnecessary travel. It needed a video conferencing offering that could substitute for in-person meetings and be used for minor telehealth services for clients.

The company drew up plans for its video conferencing ambitions in February 2012, and after several months of reviewing vendors, Feros Care picked IPL Communications to supply LifeSize's video conferencing equipment.

The LifeSize offering was picked because it met the requirements and the budget of Feros Care. The organisation snapped up seven LifeSize Express 220 room-based systems and a LifeSize Passport Device.

Around 100 of the vendor's ClearSea high-definition video conferencing licenses where issued to remote workers so that they could use their mobile devices to dial into the conference rooms.

"It came to around $180,000 for the equipment," Feros Care IT and communications manager Glenn Payne told ZDNet. "We ended up doing the rollout ourselves and did all the installs.

"We were adamant we wanted our own technicians to understand the product and be able to support it."

Through ClearSea, Feros Care also enabled video conferencing via Android-based smartphones to allow remote carers to connect with in-home clients and to the head office.

"If carers are in a house with clients and want to show a wound or want to report back to base to get a nurse to look over something that happened to one of the residents, they can do that," Payne said.

Feros Care recently won a tender with NBN Co to be part of the NBN-enabled Telehealth Pilots Program.

Feros Care received AU$2.7 million for the 18-month long pilot. Working with the Department of Health and Ageing, the organisation will be rolling out telehealth services to Port Macquarie, NSW.

"It's nice to give video conferencing technology to our staff, but we wanted it to play a part in our telehealth side of things," Payne said.

As part of the pilot, Feros Care is deploying tablets and all-in-one PCs, which will use LifeSize's ClearSea offering for high-definition video conferencing between clients and the organisation's medical professionals.

Feros Care plans to have the first of 200 patients on-board with the pilot in April.

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