Delivering time- and life-saving telehealth solutions during the West African Ebola crisis of 2014-16 and in the aftermath of the Charlottesville protests of 2017 required leveraging Cisco’s Jabber and WebEx, the University of Virginia (UVA) has said.

Brian Gunnell, transformative technology strategist at University of Virginia Health System, told ZDNet that UVA initially became involved in the Ebola crisis in Africa because of its existing outreach programs with physicians travelling to developing nations.

UVA’s health staffers had set out to solve the problem that upon entering isolation, Ebola patients were unable to see a human face again during their treatment, with all visitors having to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) but patients still needing to speak to family, physicians, social services, and others.

“We do a lot of international outreach, just the university’s mission as far as global is we have so many physicians that travel in different places … it was through one of those connections we had a physician that was back and we were sitting in our conference room just talking, and she was talking about the isolation and we had never thought about it,” he told ZDNet.

According to Gunnell, UVA’s initial solution cost just $200 and involved inexpensive birdhouse cameras, portable DVD players, cabling, low-power consumption devices, and small solar panels.

UVA then began thinking about how it would respond to Ebola locally — with patients referred to the university’s hospital — and it began standing up Cisco infrastructure…