Innovative hospital to use unified communications (UC) technology to join up GP, community and hospital care together
Yeovil District Hospital has enlisted the help of MeetingZone to help boost efficiency and enable collaboration across the local health system.
As one of a select group of NHS foundation trusts granted Vanguard status by the Government, the hospital will point the way forward by pioneering new ways of using collaboration technology to deliver remote patient care and improve staff communication.
A key part of the trust’s strategy is to join up patient care for sufferers of multiple long-term conditions who will often see a number of different specialists in a variety of different departments. This results in patients having to attend multiple appointments with GPs and consultants.
As part of the agreement, MeetingZone will deploy a Microsoft Skype for Business solution, which brings together various technologies such as video and voice conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing and ‘presence’ - the ability to see instantly whether someone is available. These technologies will enable staff to engage with one another and with patients, irrespective of where they are or what device they’re using - whether it’s a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
“The inability to share information can be a big barrier to implementing change,” said Richard Hale, Yeovil’s chief technology officer.
“So the breaking down of silos which prevent individual departments from collaborating effectively with one another is key to this project.
“We selected MeetingZone because they not only have a wealth of experience implementing unified communications in a healthcare setting, but also have a strong focus on support. This is critical because we need to ensure all our staff understand how the technology helps them and they are fully confident about using it.”
MeetingZone will also support the development of south Somerset’s Symphony Care Hubs, which help patients with multiple long-term conditions to take greater control over their health. A Symphony patient’s case worker can use Skype for Business from MeetingZone to instantly see whether a particular consultant is available and contact them directly, rather than having to leave phone or email messages.
The trust also plans to use videoconferencing to enable GPs, Symphony staff and patients to conduct ‘virtual’ consultations, which is both more convenient for all parties and cuts down on costly, time-wasting travel. This will enable the Trust to deal with a higher throughput of patients with the same amount of resources. Rather than having to book a separate consultant appointment, it will allow staff in the community to use an iPad to communicate with the consultant responsible for that patient’s care. The consultant won’t have to come out and visit and could see and talk to the patient directly.
Andy Clark, general manager of Lync/Skype for Business at MeetingZone, said: “Better, simpler collaboration and communication is vital when it comes to making the urgent improvements to patient care, productivity and cost efficiency that will be necessary for the continued success of our NHS. It’s great to be working with an innovator like Yeovil District Hospital to implement, manage and support its Microsoft Skype for Business system. We look forward to bringing our extensive experience to bear on helping the trust show the way forward.”