Questmark Limited and Niavac have upgraded the technology behind the Home Monitoring Service provided by the Clark Clinic at Belfast Children's Hospital. Funded by an EU grant, the centre now features enhanced videoconferencing facilities and new AV systems to allow it to undertake imaging applications, remote support to neo-natal intensive care units, and remote scanning and diagnosis.
Four years after the original trials commenced, the Home Monitoring Service continues to enable doctors to monitor patients remotely without the need for regular visits or recourse to other medical facilities.
With the new facility, all connections are IP-based rather than ISDN, with Questmark rebalancing the dedicated phone line to ensure equal and consistent 1Meg speed for both the uplink and the downlinks. As a result, the home monitoring sessions have proved a cheaper option than telephone consultations.
The new centre also allows the medical team to undertake other functions, including surgical meetings and inter-hospital telelinks.
The videoconferencing facilities are integrated with a switching, control and display system implemented by Niavac. Operation is via a simple graphical user interface on an AMX touch panel, while two NEC MULTEOS 46in screens have been installed with speakers. This part of the set-up satisfies the DIACOM protocol for medical images to ensure they can be read for diagnostic purposes.
Other equipment specified includes a Panasonic DVD player, a Biamp digital signal processor and a Kramer HDMI Matrix Switcher and Converter.
Dr Brian McCrossan, clinical research fellow in paediatric cardiology at the clinic, commented: "The centre with its latest systems and equipment is enabling us to deliver the monitoring service as part of our normal clinical practice and it is already having a very beneficial impact on the quality of our service delivery. Patients are saved the cost and time of travelling and have the reassurance that medical support is available almost immediately. In addition, the direct patient link to the Clinic is reducing the demands on local hospitals and GPs, thereby providing cost-savings for the NHS in Northern Ireland."
Sam McMaster, chief executive of Questmark, told Installation Europe: "The integration of the AV and control from NIAVAC along with the communications services and videoconferencing provided by Questmark, and the joint support we provide to the end-users in the Clark Clinic ensure the systems deliver a reliable, robust and consistent service to all users, thus providing a strong return on investment with a solution that is future-proofed to deliver this for many years to come."