Video conferencing introduced by NHS Lothian


NHS improves access to clinicians and saves money through rollout of HD video solutions

Health services across south east Scotland are improving following the introduction of video conferencing technology.

Over the past 18 months supplier, Polycom, has been working with NHS Lothian to improve workflow and secure financial efficiencies through the use of HD video solutions.

The changes mean that, rather than having to be there in person, staff can liaise with each other and with patients via video, helping to cut costs and speed up services and diagnoses.

To date, the health board has deployed seven Polycom RealPresence Immersive solutions and 10 Polycom Practitioner carts and is using the technology to host case meetings at the regional cancer centre and to connect geographically-dispersed clinicians working remotely to help them feel engaged and to enable them to share information. Patients are also invited to speak to experts in Edinburgh in cases where travel is not possible. In addition, it has been used in sleep study cases, physiotherapy and to improve liaison between the health board and the local authority

One meeting held via videoconferencing was found to save £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 departments, making it the second largest in Scotland.

The health board had previously used videoconferencing for internal meetings, typically in conference rooms.

Iain Robertson, head of IT infrastructure and operations at NHS Lothian, said: “The results speak for themselves. We have kept all of our original meeting rooms and 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.”

“NHS Lothian is realising the full benefits of truly unified communications built around HD video collaboration,” added Andrew Graley, director of healthcare at Polycom.

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“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 onto a winning formula.”