Technology to help Bournemouth Hospital heart patients
A NEW software system that means heart surgeons from Southampton will no longer have to travel to Bournemouth to discuss whether a patient needs cardiac surgery has been introduced at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH).
The video streaming unit enables senior clinicians from RBH and Southampton University Hospital to conduct their regular meetings virtually, ruling out the need for a 60-mile round trip and resulting in faster decisions for cardiac patients.
When deciding on the most appropriate treatment pathway for a patient, current guidelines state that a multidisciplinary approach should ideally be taken. This discussion should include a cardiac surgeon, interventional cardiologist and general cardiologist.
One option for patients is percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) - a non-surgical procedure used to treat the narrowed coronary arteries of the heart and available at RBH, an established UK leader in providing PCI services. Other patients require coronary artery bypass graft surgery and so are referred to Southampton.
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In the past, cardiac surgeons from Southampton travelled to RBH each month for face-to-face meetings. Now they can see and discuss identical high definition video footage of coronary angiograms and other important investigations without leaving the hospital.
The system also enables teams at RBH to link up with specialists at Salisbury, and a number of other centres along the south coast and in London.
Dr Peter O'Kane, cardiac consultant at RBCH, said: "We had too many clinical cases for a once a month joint meeting with cardiac surgeons. This technology now permits more frequent consultations which drastically cuts patient waiting times and simplifies decision making, leading to significantly improved efficiency and outcome for our patients."
He explained that one important aspect of the technology was that images are transmitted without any loss of definition to ensure accurate interpretation. Images can also be projected on to large screens and viewed by multiple members of the hospital's cardiac team.
The unit was paid for through charitable funding and the technology can be used as a teaching aid when linked with other video equipment already installed throughout the invasive cardiac catheter laboratories at RBH.
Dr O'Kane said: "For example medical professionals in Brighton – which also has this technology - could watch a live demonstration from the catheter suite at RBH without requiring expensive satellite transmission and this will be a major advance in medical education."