National Health Service (NHS)

At a Glance

  • Speedy applied treatment saves lives
  • Improved survival, recovery rate
  • Visibility of remote patients by specialists aids
  • Connectivity to laptops and personal devices

Unified English hospitals use videonetwork to diagnose, treat and save the lives of stroke patients.

Unified English hospitals use video communications network to remotely collaborate within critical timeframe to diagnose, treat and save the lives of stroke patients.

When a patient experiences a stroke, the faster care arrives the more likely the outcome will be positive. Rapid response is a greater challenge, however, if the patient lives in a more isolated location.

But thanks to high-definition video collaboration solutions from Polycom, the Telestroke Network Project at NHS Surrey in England is saving the lives of remote stroke victims who might otherwise have had to wait hours for critical care.

The solutions swiftly bring remote patients face-to-face with medical professionals who can then deliver the vital early intervention those patients require. They also give 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 the on-site physicians can make treatment decisions quickly.

“There is a very limited window between seeing the onset of symptoms and being able to administer thrombolysis (clot busting drug),” says Colin Lee, senior project manager, NHS Surrey. “So the time the newly installed telestroke system saves us is vital time that 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.

“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 (~US$390,000) by the NHS South of England, the Polycom video collaboration solution was set up across five trusts in September 2011. The Surrey Hospitals in the Telestroke network are:

  • Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and
  • Epsom Hospital Part of Epsom and St Helier University Hospital NHS Trust

Already, the collaboration solution is making it possible for patients at those trusts to access specialist, consultant-led care around the clock. Treatment times have shortened and patient outcomes have improved.

The Polycom video collaboration solution for the Telestroke Network Project includes two mobile healthcare carts equipped with Polycom's HD audio, video and content sharing at each of the five hospitals. These are augmented with Polycom video collaboration software on the laptops of each of nine consultant stroke physicians who are on call from their homes.

Using Polycom video on their laptops, the consultants connect to any of the healthcare carts, which are located right at the patient’s bedside. Controlling a camera remotely, the specialist can view the detailed clinical examination performed by the clinician at the bedside.

“Making thrombolysis available to stroke patients 24/7 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,” says Felicity Dennis, manager of the Surrey Heart and Stroke Network.

Says Andrew Graley, director of healthcare, Polycom EMEA, "Polycom solutions give healthcare providers the means through video collaboration to treat more patients far more flexibly and cost-effectively.

"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."

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