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Web cam chat in hospitals?

Here is the story. Recently my Grandmother was very ill and her chances were not good (fortunately she has turned around and is getting much better). My Mother, myself and the great grandchildren are in California and my Grandmother is in Pennsylvania, travel was not an option at the time. I called the hospital and asked the nurse and subsequently the superviser if it would be possilble to have a PC in her room with a net connection so we could connect via yahoo or msn messenger on webcam so she could see us. Hospitals have lots of PCs and someone has to have the skills to perform such a simple hook up. The idea was flatly shot down. Was I out of line to expect a lil cooperation and compassion in this situation. I would like some feedback, particularly from those in the medical field, IDEALY from someone in medical administration. This should be a service offered by hospitals in my opinion. Thank you


I did not ask for a web feed from the hospital. I wanted to feed from our camera here in Cali to her so she could see us and we could say what we thought we needed to say and she could see us. Sorry for the confusion. I should have been clearer. Would privacy still be an issue in that case? We have the technology to make this happen and to me this would be a far better use of the technology than many things that it is used for.

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    the issue may not be inability to technically set up this connection, but hospitals have to very careful about patient privacy. Sending any information via the Internet over unsecured lines leaves them and the patient vulnerable. The paperwork alone to initiate "permission" from everyone involved may be prohibitive as well. Certainly, webcams are an option if your grandmom agrees once she's home, but again... it's a risky proposition when privacy is at stake.

    Source(s): worked in Hospital administration
  • 1 decade ago

    I'm sure the lack of cooperation is because of the strict rules from HIPAA (pronounced "hippa"). A patient's privacy is taken very seriously (way too seriously at times). A streaming video out of the hospital from a patient's room would make the privacy officer (I come from a military hospital) very nervous. I would also think that the IT department is as stretched thin as every other department in hospitals right now and probably have a back log of work orders for day-to-day needs. However, many hospitals, including mine, have a free wireless internet service for patients and visitors. If this is the case, and you could get a friend or family member to do it, it is possible to take a notebook computer with a webcam (preferrably attached) to the bedside. I know that may be somewhat of a longshot, but that would be the only option I could think of and I would be discreet in doing so.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, if you shoulder or be responsible for the "damage" incurred, why not? You hospital personnel are busy and extra work must be compensated.

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