NHS Cumbria & Lancashire Cardiac and Stroke Network (CSNLC) Improves Stroke Treatment and Saves Lives with On-Demand Telemedicine Powered by Polycom® RealPresence® Video Solutions

  • With Polycom® Practitioner Carts®, remote doctors deliver faster diagnosis and treatment for stroke thrombolysis via video consultation – which provides on-demand access to scarce expertise, accelerating diagnoses and the start of life-saving treatments, and thereby helping to save lives
  • More than 520 patients have benefited from these assessments to date, with over 220 of them receiving thrombolysis

London, UK - May 01, 2013: 

Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), the global leader in open, standards-based unified communications (UC&C), today announced the immense success of the NHS Cumbria & Lancashire Cardiac and Stroke Network (CSNLC) in its first year-and-a-half of providing 24x7 access to thrombolysis treatment from remote specialists. 

The telestroke network serves eight hospitals that in turn serve 2.2 million people spread over 3,500m². For this extensive population and extended rural area, 16 consultants are able to deliver 24/7 thrombolysis treatment to patients with acute ischaemic stroke. The reason such a small number of consultants can serve such a large rural population is telemedicine, powered by Polycom® RealPresence® video solutions. Working with Polycom partner MultiSense Communications, each hospital site is equipped with a telestroke solution that includes Polycom® Practitioner Carts® that enable mobile HD video in the hospitals, and Polycom® RealPresence® Desktop video collaboration software installed on the clinician’s home PC.

More than 520 patients in Cumbria and Lancashire have benefited from the telestroke service since its launch in July 2011, with over 220 of those patients receiving thrombolysis – a treatment that can save lives if provided in a timely fashion. Patients and their family members appreciate the benefits of the new technology. One called the Polycom Practitioner Cart a “fabulous piece of equipment” and another said “the doctor on the screen was a very professional and no doubt saved us vital minutes with his consultation.”

A third patient described her life-saving treatment experience in more detail:  “The doctor appeared on the screen, introduced himself and talked about my CT results with the doctor who was in the room with me. He talked to me from the video display screen, asking me to try different movements, then the doctors talked about the amount I’d need and how it should be given to me. I feel incredibly lucky – the treatment I received needed to be given within a really short time after the stroke. I would still be in hospital now if I hadn’t had it.”

Doctors appreciate also the new technology, as the telestroke service frees up time for doctors in busy Accident & Emergency  (A&E) departments who now have on-demand access to a stroke physician for bedside consultations. The service also reduces the workload of on-call radiologists, because now they’re called in only if an expert opinion is required.  In addition to improving care and helping to save lives, and, improving coverage and work-life balance for physicians, the telestroke service has also reduced the NHS costs associated with dependent stroke care by approximately £30,000 per patient.

“There was a need to have a technology available to us where we can see and assess the patient and that’s where the Polycom Practitioner Carts have been extremely helpful. Based on the initial description of the patient we decide whether this patient would benefit from having a video consultation,” said Dr Tahir Nasir, Consultant Stroke Physician. “Now with the Polycom video carts, while based in my own house I can assess the patients in these eight different centres.  I can talk to the patients and examine them.  The Polycom camera on the other end is a very sophisticated instrument where I can zoom and direct it in various directions.”

Every year an estimated 150,000 suffer from strokes, which affect not just the elderly but children and young people as well.  By providing around-the-clock access to on-demand stroke care in the time-critical early intervention stage, the telestroke network has not only helped save lives but also helped to prevent many patients from suffering long-term conditions resulting from strokes.

To extend the positive results of the telestroke service, the CSNLC is now incorporating the technology into other areas of care.  One hospital, for example is now using the Practitioner Cart for the review of cardiac patients. The hospital has installed network points into all of the coronary care beds where patients stay on the coronary care ward post-Thrombolysis treatment so the other hospitals within the network can provide cover for the cardiac patients in the coronary care unit if an expert opinion is required at night.

“Due to the telestroke service being in place today, more patients are alive, fewer patients suffer disability, and patients are less dependent on care givers and nursing homes to provide care,” said Elaine Day, Service Improvement and Development Manager, CSNLC. “The service has grown significantly, it is used for the right reasons, and we are making real differences to the patient.  I'm glad that we have this service available because without it, it would be very difficult to see how we could have provided a 24-hour cover.”

Notes to Editors

To learn more about how Polycom is helping NHS Cumbria and Lancashire and other healthcare institutions around the world to deliver new life-saving telemedicine services, please visit https://www.polycom.co.ukcompany/news/industry-view/healthcare.html

About Polycom

Polycom is the global leader in open, standards-based unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions for voice and video collaboration, trusted by more than 415,000 customers around the world. Polycom solutions are powered by the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform, comprehensive software infrastructure and rich APIs that interoperate with the broadest set of communication, business, mobile and cloud applications and devices to deliver secure face-to-face video collaboration in any environment.  Polycom and its ecosystem of over 7,000 partners provide truly unified communications solutions that deliver the best user experience, highest multi-vendor interoperability, and lowest TCO.  Visit www.polycom.co.uk or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to learn how we’re pushing the greatness of human collaboration forward.

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