Business has been good for Help Lightning, a virtual expertise company founded by Bart Guthrie, a neurosurgeon based at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Guthrie wanted to be able to support surgery from 1,000 miles away, but wanted to be more of a participant than simply a passive viewer guiding surgeons while watching on a screen. He envisioned the future of healthcare. He and CEO Gary York developed what they call a “virtual interactive presence,” merging video streams so that remote helpers can aid those conducting surgery in person by gesturing onscreen to where a surgeon should make an incision.
At a time when people are dying from a highly infectious disease in a worldwide pandemic, patients are staying away from the people who can keep them safe. Doctor’s offices and hospitals attract the sick and can become areas that illnesses spread. But it’s also due to legislation that ordered citizens to shelter in place in cities and states across the U.S.
“When COVID started to spread in the U.S., alarms went off in places where we operate physical, in-person clinics,” said Andrew Diamond, chief medical officer at One Medical, a primary-care practice group established in 2007, with more than 85 locations nationwide. “It’s a familiar story now, but all doctor’s offices and hospitals just saw their expected visits disappear entirely.”
When someone encounters a complex issue, they need an expert to be onsite immediately. With Help Lightning’s virtual expertise software, two video streams become merged into one. Therefore, users can collaborate and resolve an issue together. The remote expert can actually insert their hand, use tools, and share documents. This simplifies the problem-solving process. Easy, right?
Using mobile devices, experts can now work with a partner as though they were side-by-side. You can telestrate, or write across the screen. It’s easy to freeze images and use hand gestures. You can even import documents and add real objects into the merged reality environment. So, using Help Lightning, experts can solve any problem, even from thousands of miles away.
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