NHS Lothian expands use of Polycom RealPresence

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Polycom is helping NHS Lothian to improve health services internally and with other health boards across South East Scotland. Over the last 18 months, NHS Lothian and Polycom have created a highly collaborative working environment built around Polycom HD video solutions. Using video to conference face-to-face over long distances, rather than having to be there in person, benefits staff with improved efficiency, benefits patients with greater convenience, and benefits the health board as a whole with substantial cost savings.

To date, Lothian has deployed seven Polycom RealPresence Immersive Solutions and ten Polycom Practitioner carts in areas such as neonatal care, stroke consultations and healthcare support in prisons.  These solutions have already helped NHS Lothian make significant savings in operational costs – for example, running one particular meeting via videoconferencing solutions saved £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, but staff felt the technology could be used in a more collaborative and flexible way for consultants and the treatment of patients. NHS Lothian chose Polycom because of the superior quality of Polycom video.

Iain Robertson, head of IT infrastructure and operations at NHS Lothian, said: “We have a number of partnerships with technology organisations, and it is important that these are two-way relationships.  Not only does Polycom have the right technical solutions, it has an incredibly experienced healthcare team offering a complete service solution.

“We made the right decision in choosing Polycom, and the results speak for themselves. We have kept all of our original meeting rooms and we 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,” said Robertson.

“NHS Lothian is realising the full benefits of truly unified communications built around HD video collaboration,” said Andrew Graley, director of healthcare, Polycom EMEA. “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 on to a winning formula.”

NHS Lothian is using the videoconferencing systems for a number of different activities including:

  • Hosting case meetings in the Regional Cancer Centre and connecting geographically dispersed clinicians working remotely to help them feel engaged and share information. Patients are also invited to speak to experts in Edinburgh in cases where travel is not possible.
  • Providing more access to ground-breaking medical centres like the Clinical Sleep Services Centre in Edinburgh. Patients can go to the centre for an initial visit and then connect with medical staff via videoconferencing for follow-up sessions.
  • Running physiotherapy classes across Lothian, so patients don’t have to travel to Edinburgh for a class but can connect with experts via video
  • Improving communication and collaboration between the NHS Lothian executive team and other local authorities to help share best practice and expertise
  • Providing training and support for staff to help transfer expert knowledge across Lothian

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