National Health Service

At a Glance

  • Video consultation with patients
  • Real-time diagnosis of strokes
  • On-demand access to expertise from remote locations saves lives

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NHS Cumbria & Lancashire, and NHS Lothian Saving Lives With On-Demand Medicine

Immediate access to medical care can be a lifesaving proposition in the treatment of strokes and heart attacks. UK citizens in remote locations are benefiting from the rapid diagnoses available to them, and medical expertise is better disseminated amongst doctors thanks to the collaboration between Polycom and NHS Cumbria & Lancashire in England, and NHS Lothian, serving Edinburgh and the Lothian regions of Scotland.

NHS Cumbria & Lancashire Cardiac and Stroke Network (CSNLC) provides 24x7 access to thrombolysis treatment from remote specialists. The telestroke network serves eight hospitals covering 2.2 million people spread over an extended rural area. Over 520 patients in Cumbria and Lancashire have received care from the telestroke service since its launch in July 2011.

"The doctor appeared on the screen, introduced himself, and talked about my CT results with the doctor who was in the room with me," reported one patient. "I feel incredibly lucky – the treatment I had doesn't work for everyone, and it has to be given within a really short time after the stroke. I would still be in the hospital now if I hadn't had it."

Doctors gain from the new technology as well. The telestroke service improves coverage and reduces NHS costs associated with dependent stroke care by approximately £30,000 per patient.

Dr. Tahir Nasir, consultant stroke physician said, "Now, while based in my own house, I can assess patients in eight different centers. I can talk to patients. I can examine them. The Polycom camera on the other end is a very sophisticated instrument where I can zoom and direct it in various directions."

To extend the positive results of the telestroke service, the CSNLC is now incorporating the technology into other areas of care. One hospital, for example, is using the Polycom enabled healthcare cart to enable visual assessments of cardiac patients. And NHS Lothian, serving over 800,000 people, is utilizing Polycom video solutions to improve health services with other health boards across South East Scotland.

Iain Robertson, head of IT infrastructure and operations at NHS Lothian, said, "Not only does Polycom have the right technical solutions, it has an incredibly experienced healthcare team offering a complete service solution. We are more connected than ever, with the ability to use voice, video, unified communications, and telepresence all in one call."

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