NHS Lancashire & Cumbria Improves Patient Care Delivery and Saves Millions with Video-as-a-Service Telemedicine Solution

Cloud-based video collaboration technology improves patient care delivery from hospitals across the North-West, enabling the number of costly hospital admissions to decrease each year

Lancashire and Cumbria, UK - Oct 17, 2014: 

Thousands of sick and recovering people across Lancashire and Cumbria are being spared long and distressing trips to hospital thanks to an innovative Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) telemedicine solution.

Seriously ill young children, elderly people and adults undergoing dialysis treatment, have all benefited from being able to connect with medical specialists via video link, either from home or from nearby locations, instead of travelling long distances for routine appointments and check-ups. Meanwhile, in the hospitals and clinics using the system, demands on capacity have been lightened and staff productivity increased.

This has all been made possible by the Video-as-a-Service offering from Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), the global leader in open, standards-based unified communications and collaboration solutions (UC&C), managed and maintained by Imerja; a certified Polycom Gold partner and a specialist public sector IT service provider.

The VaaS offering delivers all the benefits of the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform without the on-premises setup, deployment and operational costs, giving organisations like the NHS the flexibility and scalability they need to tailor a solution for their unique needs.

Dial D for ‘Dialysis’

The Polycom solution is also benefitting patients that require dialysis for kidney problems. This typically involves three visits to hospital a week for up to four hours a time. However, with a Polycom unit installed in their home providing a direct line to nurses at Chorley and South Ribble District Hospital, patients can be trained to manage their own treatment in comfort and privacy, and at a time to suit them, knowing that professional advice and support is just video call away.

Emma Slater, whose father John is a home dialysis patient, said: “You can just click the button and he’s straightway through to a nurse who can coach him through any issue.”

Also, real time telemetry from the patient’s home to the hospital whilst they are on dialysis means the hospital based nurse has full visibility of the patient’s progress and status during the process, and if they have any concerns about what the telemetry readings are showing they can video call the patient instantly to check their status and advise on any changes needed to stabilise their condition, make them more comfortable during dialysis, or quickly and efficiently arrange for emergency assistance if required.

Scott Rayner is Renal IT Manager, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and is responsible for the connectivity of IT systems in the dialysis unit. He said: “Using Polycom Video-as-a-Service in partnership with Imerja has been a definite benefit for us with regards to the support and infrastructure that’s immediately made available to us. We’ve got secure and reliable network links between the patient’s home and the hospital site, which are critical.” 

Over at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Dr Ram Kumar, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist, has also been impressed with the time-saving potential of the system for both staff and patients: “We find at Alder Hey that we run at virtually 100% capacity so any technology that allows us to improve the efficiency of our care is very welcome. Every year we have approximately 270,000 outpatient attendances, with many children visiting for short appointments, often ten minutes, having travelled for maybe six hours to get here. To save them the trouble is just brilliant without compromising patient care.  

The regional role in delivering service innovation

NHS healthcare providers within Lancashire and Cumbria have been responsible for pioneering technical innovation to help improve service delivery, including the adoption of Video-as-a-Service which underpins all of these projects.

The initial project implemented using VaaS was Telestroke, developed in response to a Department of Health initiative to improve the diagnosis and treatment of stroke. From the success of this project, helping to save lives of stroke victims as well as delivering cost savings of over £6.5million a year, the VaaS service model developed to a subscription based approach making it more readily available to other areas, the underlying solution still based on Polycom technology to ensure the high definition image and sound quality of required to facilitate effective assessment and diagnosis.

Gus Hartley, Head of North West Share Infrastructure Service at Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, a key member of the team responsible for introducing video technology across the region, said of the solution; “The key points for us were the quality of the video so the technician or the consultant could speak to the patient, but also the importance of real time telemetry from the home into the hospital, and that ensures the quality of the service being given to the patient - the patient feedback is that they are really, really pleased by the service in the home, and actually wouldn't want it done any other way."

Andrew Thompson, Business Development Manager at the Trust, has also been vocal in his support of the Polycom solution, commenting; “…the market leaders, from our negotiations with our suppliers, were Polycom and they've proved to be a major benefit for every service we've put in for the quality of the video that we are receiving across the network”.

The next step now is to see the benefits of VaaS extend out of the secondary and acute environments and into the primary sector, Andrew continued; “We now want to roll this more into primary care type scenarios, where we can run virtual clinics from GPs in Lancashire or South Cumbria. The subscription based service that we've created enables patients to be wherever they want to be.”


About NHS Lancashire & Cumbria

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust was established in April 2002 and authorised as a Foundation Trust on 1st December 2007. The Trust provides health and wellbeing services for a population of around 1.5million people. The services provided include community nursing, health visiting and a range of therapy services including physiotherapy, podiatry and speech & language. Wellbeing services provided include smoking cessation and healthy lifestyle services. The Trust specialises in secure, inpatient and community mental health services as well as offender health. Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust covers the whole of the county and employs around 7,000 members of staff across more than 400 sites.

For further information visit: www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk.

About Polycom

Polycom helps organisations unleash the power of human collaboration. More than 400,000 companies and institutions worldwide defy distance with secure video, voice and content solutions from Polycom to increase productivity, speed time to market, provide better customer service, expand education and save lives. Polycom and its global partner ecosystem provide flexible collaboration solutions for any environment that deliver the best user experience, the broadest multi-vendor interoperability and unmatched investment protection.

Visit www.polycom.co.uk or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to learn more.

About Imerja

Imerja is a specialist IT service provider to healthcare organisations. ISO certified and an approved N3 supplier, Imerja works alongside customers to develop innovative projects that challenge the status-quo of service delivery, improving the way clinical and non-clinical services are provided. Imerja’s award winning Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) solution offers a reliable and secure cloud based high definition video service built on Polycom infrastructure, enabling clinicians and others to meet, consult, assess and diagnose from any location, delivering the highest level of care.

Visit www.imerja.com, email vaas@imerja.com, or follow Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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