Tuesday, 4 December 2012

UK NHS and Video Conferencing

What does this mean for our Global Workforce of the Future?

Many healthcare services are now beginning to use the power of video conferencing for patient care, training, staff / executive meetings and team collaborations with the outcomes resulting in significant savings for the public sector and more importantly improved and efficient patient care. The future of VC in medical care is not only for remote patient care in regions such as NHS Cumbria & Lancashire and Lothian but for prison services, neonatal, remote stroke and clinical services. If video conferencing means that the patient waiting time to see a specialist is reduced and diagnosis is made quickly, accurately and efficiently then surely this has to be a good outcome for us all. Not all medical care is suited to a video link - however I predict our global medical professionals of the future will all use VC on a much more regular basis. Please read the case studies below. 

The Greater Midlands Cancer Network (GMCN) have been using a secure IP video conferencing solution and have saved approximately £400,000 a year in doctor travel expenses and productivity to assist doctors and specialists to share scans, X-rays, and medical images and discuss diagnoses and treatments face to face, without leaving their workplaces.
High-definition quality of  video conferencing allows medical specialists to share specimen images, scans and X-rays and confer with physicians for timely and accurate diagnoses for patient treatments.

Specialists are now making decisions faster and improving efficiency. Speed’s important in most businesses but critical in healthcare where timely diagnoses and treatments can mean the difference between life and death. And everyone finds the VC system easy to use. Stuart Babiy, Information & Audit Lead, Greater Midlands Cancer Network says: “The consultants’ time is very precious. If it wasn’t working for them, they wouldn’t use it.”
Patients gain because medical teams can devote more time to them. The budgets of the local hospitals gain too. Stuart estimates it’s saving around £9,000 in travelling expenses every month, add this to the estimated £25,000 savings per month in productivity savings and that already adds up to about £400,000 a year. And it’s still early days. Right now 11 specialist MDTs use videoconferencing each week: using about 10 per cent of the total time available for video conferenced meetings.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust . Thanks to high-definition video collaboration solutions from Polycom, the Telestroke Network Project at NHS Surrey in England is saving the lives of remote stroke victims who might otherwise have had to wait hours for critical care.
The solutions swiftly bring remote patients face-to-face with medical professionals who can then deliver the vital early intervention those patients require. They also give the hospitals’ stroke teams fast access to stroke consultant experts at any time of the day or night – even when the consultant isn’t on-site. Getting specialist clinical advice quickly is essential so that the on-site physicians can make treatment decisions quickly.
“There is a very limited window between seeing the onset of symptoms and being able to administer thrombolysis (clot busting drug),” says Colin Lee, senior project manager, NHS Surrey. “So the time the newly installed telestroke system saves us is vital time that increases significantly the potential of patients making a full recovery and going on to lead a normal life much more rapidly. It can even mean the difference between life and death, and we are already seeing positive results from the system.
“Rather than waste valuable time waiting for a consultant to get to a patient, now a patient can have a CT scan, be seen by triage, assessed by a stroke consultant, and have a recommendation in under an hour through video solutions – all while the consultant is at his or her home.”
Many thanks to Polycom (UK) for the case studies and images above. http://www.polycom.co.uk/
For information about the original GMCN case study click here
For more information about the original Surrey NHS trust  case study click here

1 comment:

  1. Video conferencing is a major boon for hospitals as it helps health professionals to conduct virtual clinics and consult with colleagues, doctors etc. Tools like Polycom, R-HUB HD video conferencing servers, Avaya, Vidyo etc. are used regarding the same.