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Sony, Microsoft collaborate on MD2GO remote camera

By Eric Wicklund, Senior Editor

TAMPA, FL – One of the many promises of telemedicine is that it will give physicians an opportunity to see patients without having to be physically present in the examination room. One device that embodies that concept is MD2GO.

On display at the Sony booth (No. 416) at the American Telemedicine Association's 2011 conference, MD2GO is the result of a collaboration between Sony and Microsoft. Developed on Sony's Silverlight platform, the remote HD IP camera system leverages a Windows 7 touch-based user interface, giving physicians access to images and sound from any PC or slate device.

"Traditional video conferencing applications require a lot of space and dedicated solutions. This is a compact system that can be brought anywhere a doctor needs to be," said Evan Krachman, Sony's marketing manager for surgery and medical solutions. "We wanted to keep things as simple as possible."

MD2GO is designed to sit unobtrusively in the corner of the doctor's exam room or the patient's room, to be wheeled out when a patient needs to be seen by a doctor who's in another room, building or campus. It can be used by a physician who's working from home or calling on hospitalized patients from an office. The system includes an HD pan tilt zoom camera with 10x optical zoom lens, high-quality microphone and speaker modules and the ability to record HD video and stills, which can be reviewed in real time or stored and played back at a later time.

Krachman said the system was introduced in rough form two years ago to the American College of Surgeons, who responded with "fantastic feedback." Sony and Microsoft refined the product, he said, and shipped the first devices out last December. MD2GO was unveiled for the first time at the HIMSS11 conference in February, and is looking to gain traction at the ATA show.

"The system has the potential to greatly improve the delivery of healthcare," said Chris Sullivan, Microsoft's national managing director of health provider solutions. "The familiar, easy-to-use interface on a Windows 7 device such as a slate, and the portability of the camera, gives clinicians the tools and the freedom to administer quality care beyond the bedside."

"This system allows physicians to be on call without being on-site and gives them the ability to clearly communicate with the patient or resident at the most critical time," added George Santanello, general manager of Sony's Medical Systems division. "Though the shortage of physicians continues to grow, the demand for quality healthcare will not decline – MD2GO gives hospitals an easy-to-learn-and-use solution that delivers quality care from their most experienced clinicians regardless of location or time of day."

While the MD2GO costs about $10,000 and is designed for clinical settings – ranging from hospitals to nursing homes to outpatient centers – Krachman foresees a day when it can be used at home.

"Anything that enables a doctor to communicate quickly and effectively with a patient … improves the (clinical) process," he said. "There's just so much potential here."

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