At a Glance
- Provided more access to medical centers
- Presented physiotherapy classes across Lothian
- Improved communication and collaboration
- Provided training and support for staff
Expanded Use of Video Collaboration for Remote Patients Reduces Costs and Improves Scotland Patient Health Care
Video communications adds remote patient care across Scotland, reduces healthcare costs as it expands telemedicine use.
Many of the stories about the benefits video is bringing to the healthcare arena talk about its application at individual hospitals...or even at individual bedsides. Less known, but equally compelling, is how video is helping healthcare organizations improve productivity across entire geographic regions.
In particular, Polycom® is helping NHS Lothian to improve the health services internally and with other health boards across South East Scotland. Together, NHS Lothian and Polycom have created a highly collaborative working environment for the healthcare provider that is built around Polycom HD video solutions. By using video to conference face-to-face over long distances, NHS Lothian is finding that its staff benefits from improved efficiency, its patients benefit from greater convenience, and the health board as a whole benefits from substantial cost savings.
To date, Lothian has deployed seven Polycom RealPresence Immersive Solutions and 10 Polycom Practitioner Carts in areas such as neonatal care, stroke consultations, and healthcare support in prisons. These solutions have already helped NHS Lothian realize significant operational cost savings -- for example, running one particular meeting via videoconferencing solutions saved £1,600 (~US$2,500) in travel expenses alone.
NHS Lothian is responsible for patients in a geographically dispersed area. It provides care for people living in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Mid Lothian, and West Lothian, and provides a range of regional and national services which cover patients across Scotland. In particular, the health board works closely with NHS Fife, NHS Borders, and NHS Dumfries and Galloway. The health board has around 27,000 staff, 200 sites, and three A&E (accident and emergency) departments, making it the second largest in Scotland.
The health board had previously used videoconferencing for internal meetings that typically took place in conference rooms. However, staff felt the board could use the technology in a more collaborative and flexible way, such as in conferring with consultants and treating patients. NHS Lothian chose Polycom because of the superior quality of Polycom video.
NHS Lothian is using the videoconferencing systems for many different activities including:
- Hosting case meetings in the Regional Cancer Centre and connecting geographically dispersed clinicians who work remotely to help them feel engaged and share information. Patients are also invited to speak to experts in Edinburgh in cases where travel is not possible.
- Providing more access to groundbreaking medical centers like the Clinical Sleep Services Center in Edinburgh. Patients can go to the center for an initial visit and then connect with medical staff via videoconferencing for follow-up sessions.
- Running physiotherapy classes across Lothian, so patients don’t have to travel to Edinburgh for a class but can connect with experts via video.
- Improving communication and collaboration between the NHS Lothian executive team and other local authorities to help share best practice and expertise.
- Providing training and support for staff to help transfer expert knowledge across Lothian.
Iain Robertson, head of IT infrastructure and operations at NHS Lothian, says, “We have a number of partnerships with technology organizations, and it is important that they are two-way relationships. Not only does Polycom have the right technical solutions, it also has an incredibly experienced healthcare team offering a complete service solution.
“We made the right decision in choosing Polycom, and the results speak for themselves. We have kept all of our original meeting rooms and we now have the ability to connect to remote teams. We are more connected than ever, with the ability to use voice, video, unified communications, and telepresence all in one call.”
Says Andrew Graley, director of healthcare, Polycom EMEA, “NHS Lothian is realizing the full benefits of truly unified communications built around HD video collaboration. Residents in Lothian and across the South East of Scotland can now communicate with healthcare professionals like never before – encouraging a self-service approach to health. Together with the cost and environmental savings from video collaboration, NHS Lothian is on to a winning formula.”