Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use TELESYNERGY® for?

TELESYNERGY® can be used for any activity that relates to the education, prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of any patient's condition in any medical field. TELESYNERGY® combines high-quality video-conferencing with a variety of medical devices. Doctors in different hospitals can share microscope slides, X-Rays, CT or MRI images, ultrasound exams captured on video, and more. Live patient exams can be performed at some hospital sites. Visit the components page to see a sample of the imaging equipment available to TELESYNERGY® conference participants.

Can TELESYNERGY® be used for anything other than Radiation Oncology?

While TELESYNERGY® was originally designed for Radiation Oncology and is currently primarily used for cancer research, it can be used for research, patient care, or education in a wide variety of medical fields.

What NIH-sponsored programs is TELESYNERGY® used for?

Can I hold a three- or four-way conference using TELESYNERGY®?

TELESYNERGY® can be used for multi-site conferences using two methods:

  1. By connecting through a hub site at the National Institutes of Health, up to seven sites can participate in TELESYNERGY® conferences, including high-quality audio/video and data.

  2. By using the MCU (Multi-point Conferencing Unit) installed in most Tandberg videoconferencing systems used at TELESYNERGY® sites, multiple sites can have audio/video conferences together at a downgraded bandwidth.

Can TELESYNERGY® connect with a non-TELESYNERGY® system?

The TELESYNERGY® system uses an industry standard video-conferencing protocol (H.320), meaning that it can communicate with video-conferencing systems made by other manufacturers. TELESYNERGY® systems use Tandberg brand video-conferencing equipment, but can be used to conference with systems made by PictureTel, Polycom, and others. You can hold video-conferences with non-TELESYNERGY® sites using most of your auxiliary devices, including the microscope, patient exam cameras, VCR, DVD, etc. You will not be able to use some data-sharing parts of the TELESYNERGY® system, such as images on the digital viewboxes or high-quality VGA images.

Is it possible for different TELESYNERGY® versions to interface with one another?

All TELESYNERGY® systems are designed to interoperate with each other. High-quality audio and video presentations are possible between all sites. However, because different versions of TELESYNERGY® have different features and different sets of medical equipment installed, not all features may be usable between two given sites. For guidance on your particular case, contact the NIH TELESYNERGY® Support team.

What type of network does TELESYNERGY® use?

TELESYNERGY® video conferences use an ISDN PRI line in the United States, or an ISDN PRA line in Europe. This line has 23 Bearer channels (30 B-channels in Europe) and 1 Data channel which all run at 64Kpbs for a total bandwidth of 1.544 Mbps (2.048 Mbps in Europe). The audio and video portion of the conference uses 12 B-channels (768kps). Up to 11 additional B-channels are used for the transmission of data between the two conference participants (for instance, when digital film images are transferred between sites or when camera and microscope steering data are transferred between Unix TELESYNERGY® versions). The D-channel carries control and signaling information used by the phone company to setup and maintain the connection.

Does TELESYNERGY® use the Internet?

As designed, TELESYNERGY® sites connect with each other solely through ISDN telephone connections. Most TELESYNERGY® systems do not have any connection to the Internet, though it is possible and a few of the sites have enabled this option. The network was initially designed to be independent of the Internet for both security of patient data and for speed and reliability of the video-conference audio, video, and data. As network technology continues to improve, we expect TELESYNERGY® to make use of secure IP connections in the future.

What do I do if I have a problem with the system?

If you experience a problem with the system, contact your local TELESYNERGY® technical person. Each partner institution selects an employee from their staff to serve as the site's TELESYNERGY® technician. This technician is trained by NIH to use and maintain the system. In cases where your site's technical staff is unable to correct a problem, they have access to the expertise of the NIH TELESYNERGY® Support Team to assist them.