The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about the greatest dislocation to Australian society since World War 2. Changes to work and life are affecting all members of the community and have required wholesale changes to the way we do things.
Restricting exposure to each other has been the key to flattening the curve and Australia’s success has been amongst the best in the world. Unfortunately this has left many Australians out of work and some industries have been completely shut down. Nevertheless, many aspects of society need to keep functioning, not the least medical care.
As part of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Federal government has made extensive changes to the availability of telehealth. While physical examination is a basic element in clinical diagnosis much of our routine care can be accomplished without it.
Studies have shown that having a properly functioning combined video audio connection with the patient is superior to audio alone and videoconferencing is the government’s preference for telehealth. At this stage however there is no difference in the rebates offered by the MBS between videoconferencing and telephone consultations.
Videoconferencing for business has been an option for over 10 years. The increasing availability of the National Broadband Network has made it a more reliable platform for accomplishing business tasks but the technology has not been without its problems.
There are many solutions available from tech companies around the world. While most of these have been limited to specific platforms or required paid accounts, some companies have offered stripped down versions for free. Recent concerns about the privacy and security of some of these systems has been raised and the companies involved are addressing these problems.
Another approach to these security issues is to run your own servers. This is a solution being increasingly adopted by many small to medium enterprises.
Jitsi Meet is a collection of open source technologies that a company can run on premises or in the cloud. Jitsi Meet does not require the user to install software on their computers since most modern browsers support the components required for audio and video. Applications are also available for Apple and Android users on mobile phones and tablets.
By way of introduction Nordocs is making its Jitsi servers available to Nordocs’ members for use with friends and families.
Nordocs’ Jitsi server is also suitable for consulting with colleagues and patients, however no guarantees of security and privacy are offered or implied. It is noted that this is no different to the current commercial offerings currently being used and which do not use components as reliable as those of Jitsi Meet.
Nordocs’ servers are housed in Australia, a key recommendation for secure medical communication.
The Nordocs Jitsi server requires a username and password for the first person to log into the meeting room. Subsequent users in the meeting, however, do not need a login. The login credentials for room moderators can be found on the Nordocs Facebook and web pages.