As one of the leading hospitals for children's heart surgery in the United Kingdom, Evelina London children's hospital is a centre of excellence for paediatric cardiology amongst other services, and around 300 sick children pass through the doors every day. If you don't know where Evelina is, then it might surprise you to learn it is based inside the grounds of St. Thomas' hospital site, directly opposite the Houses of Parliament, London.
I had the pleasure of meeting the lead paediatric cardiologist Mr. John Simpson, Clinical Nurse Specialist Audit & Data Manager Thomas Witter and the Trust's telemedicine expert Frank Baldesare in early January, 2013. At the time, the team were facing a particular challenge - if a procedure was underway in an operating theatre and an unexpected complication arose, it could take almost ninety minutes for the cardiologist to get scrubbed and gowned in order to enter the theatre. Often, the cardiologist would only need a few short minutes to look at the echo; an ultrasound image produced by a Philips device, in order to recommend a course of action for the surgeon, but may compete with other clinical commitments on the ward or intensive care unit.
The team were convinced there was a way to overcome the lengthy time delay by using technology to enable a cardiologist to view the intraoperative images and communicate with the team in theatre. After a design session and a series of tests that spanned about eight months and involved the hospital's own Medical Physics department, IT, and the ultrasound manufacturer Philips, the decision was taken to put the telemedicine solution into use inside the operating theatre.
Take a look at the customer story and supporting video and you will learn how video collaboration enabled the team to save about 1,300 hours of consultants’ and surgeons’ time each year through the project.
And so, on 16th September 2013 (which just happened to be my birthday) the system was deployed. Within hours, it was used for the first time during a procedure and the first successful case was recorded.
The solution shortens the time to review scans from 90 minutes to five minutes and enables quicker operations with less time under anaesthetic for patients. There is a profound improvement in the recovery time of a child by a reduction in anaesthetic, leading to a shorter stay in hospital and many other benefits.
The project has seen many successes within the hospital, and has also been awarded the Collaborative Communications Product of the Year at the AV Awards 2014 by AV Magazine and the 2014 UK IT Industry Award - IT Project Demonstrating most effective use of Collaborative Technology by the prestigious British Computer Society and Computing Magazine.
Chris Boba of Polycom picks up AV Award, while I picked up BCS Computing Award with Frank from Guy's & St. Thomas'
I'm very proud the project has been recognized and I was honoured to be at the UK IT Award ceremony with Frank to pick up the Collaborative Technology award. As we left the stage, we had lots of comments on how wonderful it was to see Evelina win, and that many of the well-wishers children had been treated at the hospital.
I thank the judges of both AV Magazine and the British Computer Society for recognising the fantastic work of the whole team. This has been one of those projects when everyone had a clear vision of what was required, how to achieve it, and wanted to work together to put it all in place.