UK’s largest NHS trust uses BT technology to treat patients remotely

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust trials new Remote Diagnostic Station

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is trialling BT's Remote Diagnostic Station to enable medics to treat patients remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), the largest health trust in the UK, is trialling new technology in the form of an always-connected Remote Diagnostic Station to help transform the way it delivers care to patients.

Developed by BT, the station enables clinicians to work with multi-disciplinary teams and give remote clinical support using digital stethoscopes and ECGs to review and provide diagnoses for patients, away from their locations, in real-time and over a converged 4G/5G and WiFi network.

The station includes a high-definition camera that can be worn by colleagues in the patient setting, giving clinicians a clear bedside view of patients.

At a time when the NHS needs more support than ever before, our Remote Diagnostics Station is significantly reducing care time and enhancing the efficiency of NHS professionals that are already so time constrained

UHB is currently trialling the station in its Norman Power Centre, an offsite, purpose-built facility that provides high-quality intermediate care for patients who are preparing to return home.

Experienced clinicians from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, supported by nursing colleagues at the centre, have been testing real-time and virtual consultations using the station’s end-to-end connectivity solutions.

The trial complements UHB’s outpatient video consultation activity, which has expanded in recent months to keep patients safe by providing clinical expertise away from the trust’s hospitals during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Zoe Wyrko, consultant geriatrician, said: “The Remote Diagnostic Station very much fits with the trust’s vision of innovation.

“It allows us to link professionals and teams in different settings with each other so that skills and expertise can be shared.

“Patients can be treated effectively and safely in the best environment for them.

“The trial at Norman Power has shown us the potential of the equipment and I believe that such innovations will help strengthen relationships and co-working with health and social care partners across the Birmingham and Solihull system.

The trial of the connected Remote Diagnostics Station is a result of a long-term partnership between BT and UHB and follows on from the UK’s first remote ultrasound and Connected Ambulance trial over a live public 5G network in 2019.

We know that technology can make a significant difference for our healthcare system and the connected station is another great example of this

Fotis Karonis, CTIO at BT Enterprise, said: “Our strength in partnership with UHB is formed by a joint vision to deliver the best care for patients and clinicians through the power of innovative technology and the best converged network.

“At a time when the NHS needs more support than ever before, our Remote Diagnostics Station is significantly reducing care time and enhancing the efficiency of NHS professionals that are already so time constrained.

“We know that technology can make a significant difference for our healthcare system and the connected station is another great example of this.”

He added: “At BT we are committed to helping the NHS respond to the pandemic and accelerate digital first healthcare.

“We’re proud to work with UHB to deliver this network centric innovation in such a time of need, but we’re also hopeful for the future potential of the technology to create efficient use of healthcare resources and outcomes, particularly with regards to easing the burden on our valued healthcare workers.”

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