Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Here’s why video should be commonplace in the NHS

October 5, 2015

As the NHS moves towards digitisation, the emphasis must be on using technology to address clinical and business issues. Innovation in digital technology moves quickly, and nowhere more so than in the area of standards based video and collaboration.

As I have met with NHS trusts, I have seen and heard about so many innovative uses of technology that are making an enormous difference to patient care. Rightly so because if we technology companies are not helping trusts to improve patient care, then why not?

Is the NHS a laggard with technology adoption? I think not. And no, I have not forgotten that technology is just a piece of the jigsaw: people, process and culture are equally important – in fact more so.

Yet there is one area about which I rarely hear anything good said. And that is the adoption of video and collaboration technologies into multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings. The reality is that the NHS is littered with failed video projects which have tarnished the reputation of the technology. And yet I, and many of my colleagues in Cisco, have access to affordable, simple to use video technologies as if by right. To the extent that, quite frankly, life without video would now be unthinkable.

Today things have changed. If you can dial a telephone number or click the button of a mouse, you are in business. It really is that simple, regardless of whether you are taking part in the conference from a fully equipped video room, a desk based system or indeed from your laptop, tablet or smartphone. You’re in control, not the technology. Sounds interesting?

In 2014, Cisco was asked by Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust to assist in setting up a live MDT meeting between clinicians in Leeds and their counterparts at the King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan via the internet.

The meeting was to take place in front of members of the Jordanian royal family. No pressure then.

And guess what? It worked.

So if it worked between Leeds and Jordan, what could be done for MDT services across Leeds and its partner organisations?

Don’t we all have a duty of care to see solutions such as this rolled out nationally? I certainly believe so.

This piece was originally published in the Health Service Journal.

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