Founded in March 2020, COVID Tech Connect has provided 15,000 free tablets and smartphones to hospitals and long-term care facilities. In May 2021, through a partnership with Caregility, the organization added a free app that lets professional caregivers easily set up video calls between patients and their loved ones. Hosted via a web browser, multiple individuals can connect on a call using the new TeleHome app on any device with an internet connection.
Last September, we covered COVID Tech Connect, a volunteer organization founded by tech industry leaders. To mitigate the dangerous effects of isolation on critically ill and elderly patients, COVID Tech Connect undertook a massive, rapid fundraising campaign in the first half of the pandemic. Those donations supported acquiring tens of thousands of devices donated by manufacturers and shipping them to healthcare facilities across the United States.
Feedback from facilities that received those devices made it clear that a dedicated, secure video conferencing app would streamline virtual patient visits without compromising patient privacy. As a result, the ongoing fundraising effort is now supporting the new TeleHome app and continuing to ship smart devices.
Caregility, which offers various telemedicine solutions for in- and outpatient settings, collaborated with COVID Tech Connect on the HIPAA-compliant TeleHome app. Providers wishing to use TeleHome can request free user accounts from the COVID Tech Connect website. Once downloaded onto a facility smart device, patients can invite loved ones to join a video call in a one-time text message with a link to the TeleHome web browser.
Patients can add as many friends or family members to their video call as they wish. Once the visit ends, the access link expires. Because the platform doesn’t store patient data and wipes the device between each video call, many different patients within the facility can use the same device and app.
Although vaccinations have recently caused some aspects of life to feel more normal, isolation in around-the-clock care settings continues to be a concern. Realistically, virtual connectivity for patients in those settings deserves to become a priority even after the pandemic subsides. TeleHome can help make it easier for healthcare centers to achieve that priority now and in the future.