Virtual Service Delivery
NHS Technology Brings the Concept of Virtual Service Delivery to Life
The Hywel Dda University Health Board Virtual Service Delivery was winner of the NHS collaboration award at MediWales Innovation Awards:
“The project won a MediWales Award (2018) for NHS partnership working with industry. It also won an NHS Award (2018) for reducing inequalities in healthcare provision. The project has been shared widely at national and international conferences and has also been published.” Michelle Dunning, Project Manager for VIPAR, Hywel Dda UHB
“NHS Collaboration with Industry – Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Team, developed the Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation (VIPAR) service to connect standard lung rehabilitation services to local village halls and community independent living centres via video conferencing. They worked in partnership with Comcen and Polycom to deliver the technical needs for the system.” MediWales Awards
Hywel Dda University Health Board provides healthcare services to a total population of around 384,000 throughout Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a programme of exercise, education and stress management consistently advocated as an effective, cost-efficient, evidence–based intervention that improves clinical outcomes, decreases hospital readmission rates, decreases the length of any hospital admission, and the requirement for GP contact, in individuals diagnosed with a chronic respiratory condition.
Virtual Pulmonary Rehabilitation (VIPAR) service set a goal to connect standard lung rehabilitation services to local village halls and community independent living centres via video conferencing.
Hywel Dda University Health Board aimed to reduce gaps and inconsistencies in delivering Pulmonary Rehabilitation across Carmarthen, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. For example, respiratory patients in Ceredigion had no Pulmonary Rehabilitation services, having to travelling over an hour to Glangwili hospital in Carmarthen.
An experienced AV consultant was assigned to Hywel Dda University Health Board and a working group was assembled to link solutions to identified needs. The Virtual Service Delivery solution needed to enable members of the multidisciplinary team to deliver education and support to respiratory patients over a larger geographical area.
After a preliminary site survey, Comcen presented Hywel Dda University Health Board with a number of solutions, identify products that would suit the needs of both sites within the set budget.
Not being part of the NHS infrastructure, connecting Tregaron Hall to Glangwili Hospital posed several issues. To overcome this problem, Comcen liaised with NWIS the hospitals (VC) Video Conferencing service provider’s, to ensure that the best possible solution was offered.
Hywel Dda University Health Board sort a state-of-the-art video conferencing system that would allow sessions to run simultaneously between the Pulmonary Rehabilitation department in Gangwili Hospital and Tragaron Hall.
Comcen recommended the Polycom Real Presence Group 500 video conferencing system. This solution is ideal for conferencing rooms and other collaborative environments using large screens because of its powerful video, audio performance and interactive content collaboration.
Comcen suggested using a secure virtual room which allows both sides to log in and control the cameras for maximum flexibility. The Polycom VC system allows the occupational therapist and physiotherapist to control the camera, so they can zoom, rotate, change the angle and communicate with Tregaron to offer an immersive and comprehensive session.
“We involved staff in the development and implementation of technology alongside technology providers within healthcare, and kept the technology as simple as possible to minimize technical issues.” Knox et al (2019) Safety, feasibility, and effectiveness of virtual pulmonary rehabilitation in the real world, 14: 775–780.
The powerful video and audio performance and interactive content collaboration allow the Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapist for respiratory to be present in the hub site (Glangwili Hospital) and therapy support workers and respiratory nurses to be present at the spoke site (Tragaron Hall).
NHS employees are able to fully interact, monitor and discuss the Pulmonary Rehabilitation sessions and respiratory patients are able to see, hear and interact. Bringing users closer together and driving meaningful conversation, delivering education and support to respiratory patients on how to manage their lung condition in the hub and spoke site simultaneously.
The video conferencing technology increased the number of patients sessions could be deliver to, without financial cost of travel to another venue; releasing time for other clinical work.
“Matthew Sims from Comcen AV was invaluable to the success of the project. He provided great support to the VIPAR Project Manager to ensure the equipment purchased was adequate to meet their project needs. Matthew supported the team with attendance at initial project meetings and provided options on the equipment best suited to meet the service needs. He advised on the Video-Conferencing equipment, supply and set up in the hub and spoke sites. Matthew also provided expert advice to overcome any technical issues with connection. The project won a MediWales Award (2018) for NHS partnership working with industry.” Michelle Dunning, Project Manager for VIPAR, Hywel Dda UHB
“Working with the Bevan Commission and in partnership with industry has brought the concept of virtual service delivery to life. The support from Comcen has been invaluable throughout the project. This really was true collaboration by all involved in the development of the VIPAR service.” Michelle Dunning, Project Manager for VIPAR, Hywel Dda UHB
Video Conferencing Benefits
Social Benefits: increased access to supervised exercise sessions and increased inclusion of social interaction for patients.
Video Conferencing Equipment Benefits: patients received high quality access to the rehabilitation program at both sites when using monitors and remote speakers. The system was user-friendly for the staff using the VC system, even with minimum training it was simple to use. An important aspect of the solution was to ensure that the VC technology worked in a very rural setting where there was limited Internet service. Technical issues, such as loss of connectivity, were quickly dealt with and did not require NHS IT Services support to solve.
Ecological Impact Benefits: The VIPAR project saved a total of 8,610 miles of traveling for spoke patients by enabling them to attend a site closer to their homes. This is equivalent to driving to the US and back. 4,750 minutes of traveling was saved, which is equivalent to 10.24 days.