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Video collaboration helps save lives

Polycom HD video collaboration is being used at five hospitals in the UK to enable stroke victims to receive urgent treatment more quickly.

The Telestroke Network Project at NHS Surrey, which was set up across five different trusts in September 2011, is already helping to save the lives of stroke victims by using Polycom high-definition video collaboration solutions to bring remote patients together face-to-face with medical professionals for vital early intervention.

The new telemedicine system gives 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 on-site physicians can make treatment decisions quickly.

“There is only a very limited window between seeing the onset of symptoms and being able to administer thrombolysis [clot busting drug], so the time saved due to the newly installed telestroke system means that vital time is saved and 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,” said Colin Lee, Senior Project Manager, NHS Surrey. “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 Polycom HD video solutions – all while the consultant is at his or her home.”

Supported by the Surrey Stroke and Heart Network and funded for £250,000 by the NHS South of England, the Polycom video collaboration solution is making it possible for patients to get round-the-clock specialist, consultant-led care with faster treatment times and improved outcomes for patients. The Polycom video collaboration solution for the Telestroke Network Project includes two mobile Polycom Practitioner carts for each of the five hospitals, plus Polycom video collaboration software on laptops for each of nine consultant stroke physicians that are on call from their homes. Using Polycom video on laptops, the consultants connect to any of the Polycom Practitioner Carts in the five hospitals, right at the patient’s bedside. Controlling a camera remotely, the specialist can see the detailed clinical examination performed by the clinician at the bedside.

“Making 24/7 thrombolysis for stroke patients available at Surrey’s hospitals has been the focus of everyone in the Surrey Heart and Stroke Network for the past three years. We are all delighted that this has now become a reality,” said Felicity Dennis, manager of the Surrey Heart and Stroke Network.

“The Polycom Practitioner cart is a simple but game-changing solution, which gives healthcare providers the means through video collaboration to treat more patients far more flexibly and cost-effectively,” said Andrew Graley, director of healthcare, Polycom EMEA. “Patients are benefiting from on-demand access to scarce stroke experts, making it easier for family and caregivers to cope with and treat this life-threatening condition.”