COVID-19 pandemic sparks hospital innovation with crowdsourced video-communication solution

By April 21, 2020Community

Vancouver, BC, Canada… An ER department at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster has piloted a program to combine repurposed old smartphones and tablets with a free, secure video-calling app to provide video communication between patients, family members, and healthcare workers. To date, over one hundred devices have been made available at no cost to hospitals by corporate and individual donors.

COVID-19 patients are placed in isolation rooms during their hospital treatment, and visitors are not permitted. Every visit by a nurse requires a full set of masks, gloves, and gowns. This can result in fear and social isolation for patients while consuming scarce resources.

Using community donated devices, patients and healthcare workers can stay connected while staying safe and conserving resources. Patients can communicate with their families when they are stressed or lonely, and healthcare workers conserve protective equipment while safely communicating with patients via text, voice, and video. This simple solution has made a meaningful difference to patients, their families, and healthcare workers by restoring contact and compassion while they battle this difficult virus.

Through a set of simple instructions, anyone can repurpose older smartphones and tablets into turn-key video conferencing kits which can be delivered to healthcare facilities in their area.

Volunteers are available to explain how to do this to anyone who is interested. For more information, visit covidvirtualtools.ca and/or email: info@covidvirtualtools.ca.

Whatcom Contact: Ryan Shupe — Contact Ryan on the TAG Community Hub (“R Shupe”) or email Ryan.