BLOOMINGTON, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bloomington, Minn.-based Video Guidance (www.videoguidance.com), a leading strategic visual communications company, has installed a video communications system at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital to connect young patients with their families.

“We will soon have the ability to loan affordable video conferencing equipment to schools that do not yet have this capability in order to connect patients with their class rooms.”

“Families of hospitalized children are not always able to be at their sides. Some children remain in the hospital for long periods of time and some parents live many miles away, including out of the country,” said Jason Albrecht, child-family life specialist and pediatric palliative care coordinator at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital. “The desired result of the new video conference systems is to lessen emotional suffering caused by that separation.”

Video Guidance’s stationary and mobile video conference initiative includes 21 in-room systems dispersed between the children’s hospital’s fourth, fifth and sixth floors. Additionally, three mobile video conferencing carts will primarily float between the pediatric intensive care units (PICU) and neonatal intensive care units (NICU), but will also serve patients throughout the hospital.

Fairview Health Services has multiple video conferencing units installed to address various applications at its Minneapolis locations, which are separated by the Mississippi River. “This gives us the ability to visually connect a parent admitted to University of Minnesota Medical Center to a child admitted to University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital when both are patients,” said Albrecht. “For example, a parent donating an organ may be a patient at the medical center and a child receiving the transplanted organ is at the children’s hospital. Now they can communicate via video to see, share and support one another. This also enables a parent/family caregiver serving at one bedside to remain connected with what is happening at the other.”

In addition, the new video conferencing systems allow the doctors and nursing staff caring for the patient to visually communicate with the parents who are at home, work, or traveling nationally or internationally. Families are often forced to divide care-giving roles between hospital and home. Video conference technology will help the parent at home actively engage in care planning and feel less separated.

University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital is implementing other creative applications for the video conferencing systems. “Long-term separation from school and peers adds another layer of stress to patients hospitalized for extended periods,” said Albrecht. “We will soon have the ability to loan affordable video conferencing equipment to schools that do not yet have this capability in order to connect patients with their class rooms.”

Albrecht added that interactive Q&As via video conferencing is also helping to teach and prepare patients for visits to the children’s hospital, particularly if they are coming from long distances. In the coming months, this application will also be used to support young patients when they return to school by teaching classmates about the patient’s illness.

The family simply needs to have a PC or Mac with an internal or external camera, as well as the ability to connect to the internet. Video Guidance’s VG Connect Desktop Services features secure video conferencing software installed on a laptop or desktop computer. The program is downloaded via a link that Video Guidance sends out following a formal request process by a family member, friend or school to connect to a patient.

Additionally, Video Guidance has installed several video conferencing systems within Fairview Southdale Hospital and Fairview Ridges Hospital to address various telemedicine applications that enhance the delivery of Fairview Healthcare Services.

As an independent provider of visual communications, Video Guidance partners with the world's leading audio/visual equipment manufacturers to implement strategic customized solutions. The customer-focused company differentiates itself by providing “best of breed” technologies and unlimited applications to help its customers communicate more effectively and exceed their business goals.

“We are honored to serve University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital and its staff, and its patients and their family members to help bring them closer together with video,” said Michael Werch, president of Video Guidance. “This newly installed technology now affords these patients and families to remain visually connected, offering greater emotional support for everyone.”

The new University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital facility opened this spring, providing patients and their families access to advanced pediatric care and medical research in one of America’s most state-of-the art facilities. The children’s hospital offers a comprehensive healing environment for children with more than 50 pediatric specialties. With its connection to University of Minnesota Medical School, the Department of Pediatrics and renowned medical researchers, University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital is the only children’s hospital in the region that both creates and delivers the latest innovations in pediatric medicine.

About Video Guidance
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Bloomington, Minn., Video Guidance, Inc. (www.videoguidance.com) is a market-leading, independent provider of strategic visual communications, offering video conferencing, telepresence and audio visual technologies and services. The company has enjoyed a 24 percent increase in booked sales and 12 percent increase in revenue during the First Quarter of 2011 over the same period in 2010. The company has also had a 31 percent increase in booked sales during First Quarter of 2011 from Fourth Quarter of 2010. Privately held Video Guidance is an independent partner of Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize. Other strategic alliances include Conference Plus, On Stream Media Corporation, Radvision and VBrick.

For four consecutive years, Video Guidance has been named to the “Inc. 5,000” list of the nation’s fastest growing private companies; and has been named by The Business Journal as one of the “50 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies” in the Twin Cities metro area (2007-2010). In 2007 and 2010, the company has been among the “Top 100” of the fastest growing regional companies in Minnesota and Wisconsin.