FAQs

Don’t hospitals have their own tablets?
What is this system actually replacing?

Yes, some hospitals already have remote communication systems in place, but that is not the case for all hospitals. Some rely on baby monitors – great for reliable one-way interactions but they certainly have their limitations. Other hospitals rely solely on face to face communication, which is particularly challenging given the transmissibility of Covid-19 and the current scarcity of personal protective equipment.

By using the power of crowd-sourcing, Covid Virtual Tools is free for hospitals and can be used right out of the box. Just hand the device labelled “Patient” to the patient and the “HCW” device to the healthcare worker. Everything is set up and ready to go – one click connects patient and carers by either phone, chat, or video. There are also Quickstart Guides for patients and healthcare workers if users need additional help. Quick, simple, free, and effective – what’s not to love?


But don’t patients bring their own smartphones?

Yes, absolutely patients can use their own device to communicate with healthcare workers. But remember, these are very ill patients being looked after by extremely busy healthcare workers. Often it is easier for both parties to start talking on a preconfigured device first and then add the patient’s phone into the system once the patient is more settled.

And in our experience, not all families have multiple phones and tablets, especially the older generation. If the sole family device stays with the patient, how does the family keep in touch with them?

Covid Virtual Tools democratizes the whole system by providing a tried and tested solution to both healthcare workers and patients — for free.


Why use Signal? Why not a more popular messaging service like WhatsApp?

There are a couple reasons:

  1. In a nutshell, privacy. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and therefore data from communication and user contact information is used by 3rd parties to generate revenue. Signal is an independent non-profit and their system has no ads, no affiliate marketers, and no tracking. To further help with privacy, conversations on Covid Virtual Tools devices are set to auto-delete after 30 minutes.
  2. WhatsApp requires each device to have its own phone number. Signal has given us “dummy” phone numbers so that we can use cellular and non-cellular devices alike. Just connect to a wi-fi hotspot and it’s good to go.


Can I send you my unused devices or 3D printed stands?

Not at this time – we don’t have the manpower to receive, package, format, and donate everyone’s devices (wish we did!). The best way forward is to create your own small team and make your own kit.


What if I don’t know anyone in Healthcare I can donate my kit to?

What we can do is try to connect your package with a hospital that is looking for a donation. Contact us and we’ll see what we can do.


Where are you located?

Our team is based out of Vancouver, Canada and Bellingham, WA. However, you can start your own local team wherever you are – harness the power of crowd-sourcing! Gather some friends and devices, then check out how to “Prepare a Package”.