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Review of VSee

31 May 2016    

Review by Dr Carole Francis-Smith, a BPS chartered and HCPC registered counselling psychologist, currently working in private practice

VSee

Description: Vsee is advertised as a secure communication system for video or instant message interactions, which includes file and screen sharing. It can be used one-to-one or for video conferencing. Different levels of packages are available (see costs) and it can be used on Windows, Mac, Android, Ipad and Iphone. They are the official communication system providers for NASA.

Setting up: This was easy with only an email address and login required. There is a helpful blog showing you around the system and any questions can be answered by email within a reasonable time (as operatives live all around the world). The website was also very clear to move around when looking for information. I was given a demonstration but in all honesty there wasn’t really any need as the system was so easy to use. There is an option to embed an invitation link into your email signature or website or invite clients via an email address.

Client experience: There is an option to create a Vsee account which initiates a short download (on most software systems) and creates an app with an address book showing who is online – connecting with the person who has invited you. After following the link in an email invitation there is also an option to link up without creating this, and for those nervous of using technology this provides a stress free way to connect. Vsee recommend creating an account as it gives easier access to other aspects of the system

Ongoing use: If invited onto Vsee there is an IM chat box (bottom right) that comes up on the screen where you can check if the person is there and sort out who rings whom. The video then appears and can be made bigger by dragging from the corner and positioned on the screen. Apart from the ability to securely exchange files the Pro version offers the ability to screenshare anything on your computer (or the internet) and annotate. I pulled up my contract and ringed the section on confidentiality to clarify something for a colleague (impressing my ‘born in the 60’s’ self). There is facility to record a session but this might be more relevant for a business meeting perhaps, to recall details (wish I’d done that when I was being shown around!).

Security: Vsee is a USA based company and its servers are not situated within the EU. If you would like to read more about how Vsee attends to data protection issues please follow the link to their security policy.

You can be excused for feeling confused about the most recent advice regarding safety of data and legal jurisdiction for online practitioners. Philippa has very up to date and understandable advice in this area – please follow her link to learn more http://www.pwtraining.com

Cost: Vsee offer different packages (including a ‘waiting room and booking’ facility aimed at larger clinical practices) but the PRO set up described here is currently on offer to Private Practice Hub users for FREE (see below for details)! No tricks and no time limit. Normal price for the PRO is $49 per month, and they also offer a free, basic service which does not have unlimited screenshare, and a Plus option that does.

Advantages

  • VSee offers a stable communication system for video and instant messages.
  • It has a very easy set up for all users and provides the facility for a tech worried client to click on a link in an email to connect.
  • I’ve pretty much let the cat out of the bag on this one, but PRO offers file sharing, collaborative screensharing and annotation ability!
  • The low bandwidth offers more stable communication ability.
  • AND PRO is being offered FREE of charge to Private Practice Hub users.

Disadvantages

  • It only provides an email support system, which means a wait for a response – however, I have been assured there are operatives working in most countries so this shouldn’t be long. The basic version doesn’t offer any support.
  • Whilst there is a blog to help explain the system this might not suit everyone and it could take a little while learning what buttons do what (including the screenshare – did I mention that?). This is also true for clients of course.
  • The download creates a contact list on your screen, which could be problematic for security.

These reviews were conducted on therapist usability basis and are not a definitive guide. Usability is affected by; what type of computer, computer program and broadband service you, and the person you are connecting with, utilise. The reviews are intended to provide helpful information for therapists looking for an online platform.

Philippa has produced a very useful Online Platforms Comparison Summary, designed to help you decide on a platform that suits you. To view a quick comparison of all software log in to your member account here. If you are not yet a member, join here to have access to a variety of exclusive resources and special offers.

Follow these instructions for free access to Vsee Pro:

1. Complete this short survey

2. Contact sales@vsee.com and mention that you are a member of the Private Practice Hub and they will guide you through the process. If you are not already a member, you can join here.

3. Copy and share this message on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn: "I just signed up @VSee for free video telemedicine with free BAA! Join the Private Practice Hub to get access to VSEE Pro before the promotion ends".


 

 About the Author

Dr Carole Francis-Smith is a BPS chartered and HCPC registered counselling psychologist, currently working in private practice. Carole provides therapy both in-person and online from her base near Bristol, and also offers training in mental health issues to organisations. Having undertaken doctoral research into ‘Email therapy and the therapeutic relationship’ Carole has developed a special interest in the process of online communications, and  is committed to the promotion of safe online practice. With this in mind Carole also offers training for new therapists contemplating online working, bespoke training to complement core therapy trainings, and also with businesses to improve communication networks.

Please feel free to contact her by email, visit her website and read a blog she wrote called ‘Therapy through the looking glass; implications for training and beyond…’ on aspects of her research, published on the Online Therapy Institute website.