St Mary’s Hospital unveils advanced intensive care units

10 April 2009

St Mary’s Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, has opened a leading-edge intensive care unit (ICU). The ICU uses 16 customised Sony PCS-G50 videoconferencing units to enable 24/7 patient observation and monitoring, automated visitor management and advanced videoconferencing between staff and consultants, operated from the patient's bedside.

The technology system was designed and built by O.R. Networks, who specialise in developing communications solutions that promote medical advance.

With visual clarity being so critical to many aspects of the design, O.R. Networks selected Sony's range of high quality video products. The sophisticated functionality of Sony’s PCS-G50 videoconferencing unit provided the tools to uniquely modify its user interface to incorporate the bespoke functions St Mary’s required. This, combined with the system's fast and responsive ethernet control interface were key to the overall design.

The new Intensive Care Unit is a ground-breaking concept. Sixteen individual bays are fitted out with the highest specification technology for patient care and observation and supported through the very best use of modern communications systems ensuring that staff are in the right place — at a patient’s bedside, with continuous access to full, clear and supportive information and instant access to consultants and colleagues. Its advanced features enable:

  •  first class care and comfort for the patient;
  • nursing staff to spend time on health-critical work, with information, records and images of the patient accessible on a computer at the bedside. From each bay nursing staff are able to talk with and see other staff, to authorise visitor entry, open doors and illuminate guiding lights to the appropriate bay, maximising the time nurses spend with patients;
  • should they wish to view the patient from a remote location, consultants have the highest quality overhead cameras to transmit images to wherever they are needed, in real-time and with crystal clear clarity;
  • the fit out of the unit means that should an operation be necessary, the bay itself is fully equipped as an operating room and videoconferencing can easily be used;
  • the educational benefits are outstanding for staff and students. Real-time, real-life observation systems enables interactive tuition and every view, scan, result or analysis can be recorded for later review, comparison or the creation of training videos.

“We want to become a top-five global academic health science centre within the next ten years,” explained Sue Burgis, Head Nurse Services Manager, St Mary’s Hospital. “To be up there, we need to think big and invest for the future. Hence our recent and ambitious project to establish not just a new and larger ICU, but in fact to design the most efficient and leading edge ICU in the world.”

“It is essential in the world of modern medicine that the technical infrastructure and systems support the work of pioneering clinicians, consultants and surgeons. We always design our systems to be future-proofed, with the desire clearly being to have a framework that enables and supports innovation rather than restricting it,” said Colin Dobbyne, MD of O.R. Networks.

“We share the hospital’s vision of an environment where patient care, staff communications, effective resource management, information sharing and educational advance are seamlessly supported through sophisticated and integrated communications technology. This results in tangible benefits for all.”

Supporting the latest coding standards for smoother, more natural video images, Sony’s high performance PCS-G50 delivers television quality pictures and crystal-clear wideband audio in point-to-point or multipoint calls. The system has been designed as a sophisticated and more secure conferencing solution, allowing users to set up calls across any mix of IP, ISDN, DSL and mobile telephone connections.

John Herman, Sony Professional, said, “Giant advancements in technology have been made within the healthcare space in recent years and St Mary’s, as a forward-thinking hospital, is looking to harness these developments to improve patient care and efficiency. We are proud that Sony’s technology is being used to make their vision a reality.”

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