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Guy’s Hospital improves meeting efficiency with Polycom solutions

The Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital in London, which opened in September 2016, has selected Polycom’s RealPresence Centro solution for a new huddle room, aiming to reduce meeting times and enhance its cancer care and treatment capabilities.

The huddle room solutions allow consultants to move through their casework efficiently and as a result meetings are finishing earlier (often saving an hour a week), meaning consultants can spend more time with their patients.

Frank Baldesare, IT architect at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, worked with Polycom to design a new bespoke huddle style room for its consultant meetings. As the lead IT architect Baldesare has worked on a variety of IT installations for the hospital network each culminating in both time and cost savings across the board. The challenge at this time was to design a space that enabled cancer consultants (among others) to be able to review patients’ cases in a secure yet intimate environment.

The new meeting room enables the consultants to review patient files more effectively and in a secure location. Previously a boardroom style space was favoured for these types of meetings; what is now in its place is a more relaxed ‘huddle’ style room with the Polycom RealPresence Centro the focal point.

Surrounding the RealPresence Centro solution in a U shape are a series of bespoke desks housing power ports, laptops, diagnostic and information systems, histopathology/microscopes, Imaging/X-rays, PET & CT and the Cancer Information System, EPR. Above the RealPresence Centro are four screens hanging from the ceiling and one large monitor on the wall. The screens above enable all those in the room to see the case that is being discussed. With the RealPresence Centro being used as the video endpoint to meet with the staff who are attending from other sites, screens are firmly placed in the middle of the action and no one is overlooked when it comes to discussions about a patient’s care.

The new meeting room was designed with comfort and efficiency in mind and as the consultants hold on average three to four consulting sessions a week, this was a key factor when selecting the right partner. The sessions are typically attended by between 30-70 consultants across a variety of locations from the UK, and during those consultation sessions an average of 20 patients’ cases are reviewed, so sessions are often long and detailed. The new system enables consultants to attend remotely and share confidential data securely.

“Controlled by a bespoke touchscreen, consultants can come in and set-up their meeting at the touch of a button, meaning meetings start on time,” said Frank Baldesare, IT Architect at Guy’s and St Thomas’. “One added benefit to the system is consultants can interact more during these sessions – previously the set-up would be a classroom style, meaning ‘backs of heads’ were the best that some could see during these sessions. Now with the huddle format, everyone is engaged in the room and those on the far end can see who is commenting as the facial recognition software zooms in on the end that is talking. I have worked with the Polycom team on other IT projects, both in the meeting sphere and also using video for surgery, so I knew this was the ideal solution.”

In addition to shortening the amount of time spent in the consulting sessions, utilising video collaboration technology also enables the hospital network to reduce its travel costs enabling medical professionals to collaborate quickly effectively and the set-up enables them to converse like they are in the same room.