During Сorona virus times all software platforms, related to video streaming, are experiencing a huge boost in visitors. Internet traffic spikes in Europe were so high that Netflix and Youtube reduced the streaming quality of the video.
Telemedicine platforms are not an exception, and some providers claim they get x100 times increase in patients per week in comparison to normal times.
We got a lot of requests regarding Telemedicine platforms, all customers asked what is the optimal video streaming solution?
Let’s try to understand first what are the requirements for video streaming in this specific area of Telemedicine systems.
It’s worth mentioning that each and every country has its own limitations regarding medical data security and data transfer mechanisms. We will meet here GDPR, HIPAA rules, KVB in Germany, and other buzzwords. So here is the Tip #1 , first of all, investigate your target market country-specific rules and restrictions!
The video streaming requirements for Telemedicine systems are quite simple. You need to connect at least 2 people for a video call. Sometimes that could be increased to 4-5 participants on a call, but that’s not a webinar, neither a party, so let’s assume we are going to have 5 participants maximum. Yes, some platforms provide service for psychotherapy groups up to 15 people on board, but let’s omit this case and discuss it in a separate blog post.
Next, obviously patients and doctors need to use some kind of device to make a call. These are Laptop, Desktop computer or mobile device tablet, smartphone. As a rule of thumb, it’s a bad idea to ask patients to install applications to laptops or desktop computers, because for some users installing an application is a problem and it’s much easier to use a mobile browser. So those users will utilize web browsers. Doctors, on the other hand, can use both, installed applications and web browsers.
Ok, finally we are ready to select a video streaming solution to integrate with. And since video streaming requirements are so simple, every video streaming solution nowadays can serve those needs, right…? Well, not actually.
I will describe options here and you can choose what suits you better.
Option 1: You are in a hurry, you have created a Telemedicine platform and the only thing left is Video Streaming.
Well in such case you need to check TokBox or Twilio. Those 2 vendors have software that works from the box, they are HIPAA compliant, and it’s not complex to integrate. The only downside is a price, they charge you per minute of the video stream. However, launch your system fast with video streaming working, even if it’s a high price, and then think about how to switch to something less expensive. Another important thing to remember, some countries won’t allow to use TokBox or Twilio or any other 3rd party proprietary video streaming server to transfer medical data. So if your platform intended to work in those countries move to the next option.
Option 2: If your Telemedicine platform should work under regulations when intermediary 3rd party servers are not allowed. Or if you already have a working platform, but the video streaming part is expensive, then this option is for you.
Custom made WebRTC system. WebRTC is a complex technology that basically connects people directly and sends data between them in an encrypted way. Actually a lot of systems use WebRTC to some extent. But we will talk here about the case when we don’t use proprietary intermediary servers between users.
Note: WebRTC uses servers to establish a connection and in some special cases to transfer data through. So it’s not completely a serverless solution, but there are differences to 3rd party proprietary servers. WebRTC servers are so-called STUN/TURN servers. And we can use them even under strict regulations because transferred data will be encrypted thus not readable by the relay server. We will use open-source implementation for STUN/TURN servers and install it on the premises of the Telemedicine platform company. In such cases regulators allow the system to work.
We at Trembit have created a barebone browser-based WebRTC video conferencing solution that connects users (patient+doctor) directly and works under strict regulations.
It allows having up to 7 persons in one room. Users can have video conferences and are able to share the screen as well. It’s quite simple, but there is a lot of work behind the scenes to make it reliable.
The system works as a standalone application and can be integrated into your Telemedicine platform by REST API.
If you still have questions or would like to experience how our platform works, ping me firstname.lastname@example.org