Polycom videoconferencing saves money for health authority24 February 2012
Polycom is helping NHS Lothian to improve health services internally and with other health boards across South East Scotland. Over the last 18 months, NHS Lothian and Polycom have created a highly collaborative working environment built around Polycom HD video solutions. Using video to conference face-to-face over long distances, rather than having to be there in-person, benefits staff with improved efficiency, benefits patients with greater convenience, and benefits the health board as a whole with 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 make significant savings in operational costs – for example, running one particular meeting via videoconferencing solutions saved £1,600 in travel expenses alone.
NHS Lothian is responsible for patients in a geographically dispersed area, providing care for people living in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Mid Lothian, and West Lothian and providing 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 typically in conference rooms, but staff felt the technology could be used in a more collaborative and flexible way for consultants and the treatment of patients.
“We have a number of partnerships with technology organizations, and it is important that these are two-way relationships,” said Iain Robertson, head of IT infrastructure and operations at NHS Lothian. “Not only does Polycom have the right technical solutions, it 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,” concluded Robertson.
“NHS Lothian is realizing the full benefits of truly unified communications built around HD video collaboration,” said Andrew Graley, director of healthcare, Polycom EMEA (pictured). “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.”
NHS Lothian is using the videoconferencing systems for a number of different activities including hosting case meetings in the Regional Cancer Centre and connecting geographically dispersed clinicians working 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.