Bristol-based Motion Media has launched the first video phone specifically designed for the healthcare sector and remote delivery of patient care into the home that operates over a standard phone line.

The company claims its new CareStation 125 video phone will help health organisations deliver the Government goal of redesigning health services around the patient and consumer demand for better and local care.

Motion Media says the new video phone will help healthcare professionals deliver improved home care, and undertake more patient visits cost effectively without impacting on the amount of time they work.

Paul Range, Market Development Manager for Telehealth at Motion Media, described the real time two-way video communications provided by the CareStation 125 as ideal for caring for the chronically ill and those living in remote areas. He added that video communications should enable more elderly people to live independently, and help reduce pressures placed on hospitals.

Range told Medexonline that there was a clear market opportunity for Telemedicine as the NHS is struggling to meet the pressures made on it. "All the evidence shows that people do recover better at home, and the videophone enables carers to have direct access to home-based patients better and faster."

He added that the NHS Plan makes clear the health and social care system must be shaped around the needs of the patient, not the other way round and that "health services must harness technology to drive up performance".

Crucially, the CareStation 125 provides a "clear data channel" allowing it to be linked to a range of home monitoring devices and vital signs equipment. This facility allows the healthcare provider to receive instant information from vital signs equipment, electronic stethoscopes, ECGs and other devices, while also speaking to and seeing the patient, and viewing their records and health data on a PC.

Motion Media believes that the easy-to-use video phone will enable healthcare providers including, nurses, GPs, home care agencies, social services, emergency services and care management organisations to reach ten times the number of patients compared to actual visits. It says this will allow more patients to be treated from home without any extra resource investment.

“By providing real time, interactive communications to the home, the CareStation 125 has been designed to allow not only more frequent interactions but to give patients round the clock access to help and information,” explained Range.

As well as operating over a standard phone line, the CareStation 125 can be plugged into a patient’s television to provide a bigger screen. Patients can also connect VCRs, DVDs, cameras and answering machines to the videophone. An optional steerable camera can be fitted and controlled remotely by the carer.

According to Range the system is also extremely affordable: "The cost of one station is approximately 90 pence a day over 36 months".

Motion Media says the new system has already generated a significant amount of interest from clients in the UK. "We’ve had interest from a range of NHS organisations, including primary and community care. The company expects sales to be evenly split between the public and private sectors.