BeterDichtbij develops video calling for hospitals
If you think about it, it seems odd that when you’re sick you have to leave the house and visit your doctor’s office in order to get help. Surely that’s the last situation in which you want to be stuck in a waiting room with other sick people. It would be great if you could have a confidential talk with your doctor over video call. Thanks to BeterDichtbij's efforts this may well be reality in the near future.
Of course, you don’t always need to see a doctor in-person. But you do want to see the doctor and be seen by the doctor. Not only does it help you feel cared for but for many problems a visual examination is necessary. And video calls for medical consultations have shown to improve patient outcomes and to reduce missed appointments. The good news is that the next time you get sick, this might be a real possibility thanks to BeterDichtbij. At KPN we are excited that BeterDichtbij is powered by our own API Store!
Why a new app is necessary
But why not just use Facetime or Whatsapp? According to Edwin Vermeer, Technical Lead at BeterDichtbij, video calls between patient and doctor have particular requirements.
“In healthcare privacy and security are crucial conditions for good care and communication between patient and doctor. For example: the GDPR/AGV law means that you have to know where data is stored and processed. For BeterDichtbij, we need that data to be within the European Union and ideally inside the Netherlands, so our data center is in the Netherlands.
“But you also need to ensure security and confidentiality to a level that mainstream video calling apps can’t promise. We encrypt data at every point. It’s encrypted on the device, during transit, on our servers, everywhere. We also ensure that every step of our service is secure and we test it regularly with penetration testing by third party specialists.”
For both patient and doctor, though, the call is just as straightforward as any other call using their phone: “Some medical video calling systems require that you have a special plugin but that puts people off”, says Edwin. “With BeterDichtbij it’s far more straightforward. The patient just needs an iOS or Android device with the BeterDichtbij app, then the doctor calls you at the appointment time and it looks just like any normal call. For doctors, who work on a webplatform connected to their electronic medical record, video calling should be integrated smoothly in their trusted platform, without extra technical actions”.
So, where does KPN come in?
BeterDichtbij uses WebRTC to complete the calls between the patient’s phone and the doctor’s phone. They could have selected any of a number of WebRTC APIs, but they wanted a reliable partner based in the Netherlands.
Of course, GDPR/AVG was a factor in choosing a Netherlands-based provider but, according to Edwin, having the backing of the KPN name was important: “We wanted a Dutch supplier that was well known for quality, so KPN was the natural choice”, says Edwin. And that’s what led BeterDichtbij to use the WebRTC API from a KPN Partner.
The BeterDichtbij apps are launching for iOS and Android in the next few days, so congratulations and welcome to the KPN API Store.