Here's a quick summary...
- You're going to need a reasonably fast and stable internet connection. The better the connection you have, the clearer the video will be. If you can't normally do video calls on your connection, then you still will not be able to on this system.
- When you first connect, you may have to wait 30 seconds or so as the patient is reading the consent screen, and then the system needs to connect you together.
- When the video first starts, it may be a bit grainy but after 20 seconds, the video quality should improve significantly.
As a general guide, if you can have a video call on another platform like WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, Zoom etc then you should be able to do one on FourteenFish.
WiFi, 4G or 3G?
Our system is optimised for performing video consultations on a mobile phone or tablet. This means that if you're at work and you can't get a 4G signal, you'll need to get your phone set up on your practice's WiFi network.
A strong 3G connection may also work, but the video will be lower resolution.
If you have a webcam then you can also perform video consultations on your computer. Whilst almost all mobile devices have built in echo cancellation, not all laptops and desktops do. This means the patient might hear an echo on their voice unless you are using headphones. See I'm getting echo or feedback on the video call if this happens, or Device requirements for video calls for more detailed information.
WiFi signal strength vs WiFi speed
Your phone or computer might show that you are getting a strong WiFi signal, but that doesn't always mean you have a good connection to the internet.
The connection strength you can see is just the connection between you and your WiFi access point. The access point may be an extension of another access point, and then there might be dozens of people in your practice competing for the internet connection to the outside world.
Is my connection good enough?
You can use a service like FAST.com to measure your internet connection speed. Click "Show more info" to view your upload speed, which is likely to be the limiting factor when making a video call. For a good quality video call, you will want at least 1 Mbps upload speed.
If your GP practice internet simply can't handle video calls, you may want to do recorded phone calls at work and try to work from home to do some video calls.
Patient internet speed
Your patient will also need a reasonably good internet connection. Since they are likely to be at home or work, this will often be the case. If you notice that the patient has gone outside for some privacy while they do the video call, you might need to recommend they stay inside if this means they lose their WiFi signal.
Our system automatically adjusts the resolution and compression of the video stream depending on the connection quality.
It can take about 20 seconds to establish the optimum quality setting, so don't assume that you won't be able to clearly see a skin rash (for example) just because the picture quality is a bit blurry to start with.
On a poor quality connection, our system will be able to switch to a higher resolution if the video doesn't have much motion in it – in other words, the patient isn't moving much and their phone isn't moving much. This will then enable you to see more detail in the picture even if the connection isn't very good between you and the patient.