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VSee aims to bring practical healthcare to rural America

By Eric Wicklund, Editor, ATA 2012 Show Dailies

PALO ALTO, CA – What began as an effort to provide a reliable video hookup for people working from home is now finding its niche in telehealth.

VSee is the brainchild of Milton Chen, a UC Berkeley and Stanford University graduate whose PhD work in videoconferencing helped create the XMPP video standard. The video collaboration service provider, which launched in 2003, is billed as a rival to Skype and some of the more expensive video teleconferencing systems and pledges, in Chen's words, "to bring practical healthcare to rural America."

"We're creating a very simple, secure way to do video conferencing," he says.

Chen, who will be demonstrating a video hookup on a simple PC at the VSee booth in the ATA 2012 Exhibit Hall, says the company's HD telepresence video service offers healthcare providers a quick, multi-link portal that allows for collaboration between departments and specialists. The company is also partnering with MD Live Care on its platform linking patients to doctors.

The service also boasts video-sharing capabilities and file-sharing through a drag-and-drop tool, enabling users to share control of any application by opening it on the screen and allowing for the immediate transfer of any file up to 2GB.

Chen said he and a group of fellow Stanford students launched VSee to create a solution for people in Silicon Valley to work from home rather then battle the commute along often-busy highways. The service was first picked up by the U.S. Navy SEALs, and has since garnered hundreds of clients, including the National Institutes of Health, Kaiser Permanente, Intel, Shell and NASA. The service has also caught the attention of celebrities like Angelina Jolie, rock band Linkin Park, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

VSee is starting to gain a foothold in healthcare as hospitals and provider networks look to offer manageable, low-cost video teleconferencing solutions. The company expects to have an iPad application in a few months, with iPhone and Android apps coming after that, Chen said.

"Telemedicine can be very, very costly," he said. "There are some really great demos out there, but they're complex and too expensive … and they don't really work out in the field."

VSee is at Booth 1544 in the ATA Exhibit Hall.

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