> Modern high spec computer
> Wired connection
> Close other programmes
Computers can provide a strong platform for telehealth, but the age and specification of the computer will have a huge impact on the quality of the telehealth session. The quality of the video call will be directly impacted by your computer's ability to encode and decode the video and audio. With high definition pictures there is a lot of intensive processing required.
A modern high end i7 powered computer was using over 30% of its processing power just to process the video from the HD Webcam. If the computer's power is unable to keep up with demand, then the video resolution (detail, measured in pixels), and frame rate (smoothness) will be reduced. The processor type, speed and RAM are important as well as the camera, microphone and speakers. We strongly recommend using an external HD webcam.
WiFi connection is convenient but will reduce both the throughput and the consistency of your connection even if the WiFi is 100% strength. There will be further decrease in performance the further you move from the WiFi access point. To attain the best possible telehealth results, a wired connection to your modem should be used where possible.
Other applications running
If the computer is being used for a number of other applications such as email and documents, this can also adversely impact the quality of video and audio. If the computer can allocate all its resources to encoding and decoding video and audio, it will produce a superior result. Shutting down all other open applications and windows will optimise quality.
A software programme must be installed on the PC for telehealth. The specific programme needs to fit seamlessly with the rest of the organisation's telehealth solution so will generally be decided as a part of the implementation programme. Popular solutions include Polycom RealPresence, Cisco Jabber, Vidyo, Microsoft Lync, Skype and FaceMe.
While some computer-based setups will be sufficient for a high quality telehealth experience, some setups will only be satisfactory for non-clinical uses, and others will not support any form of telehealth.