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Karolinska University Hospital Uses Polycom Video Collaboration Solutions to Mentor Surgeons at Regional Hospitals across Sweden
Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2013
  • Endoscopic images and X-rays can be shared at the touch of a button via high-definition video
  • Consultant surgeons can now collaborate remotely with operating rooms in regional hospitals
  • Video support contributes to the improved success rate of ERCP operations
LONDON - May 21, 2013: Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), the global leader in open, standards-based unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), today announced that the Innovation Centre at Karolinska University Hospital Sweden has launched an innovative surgery program that makes use of video collaboration technology from Polycom. Using Polycom® RealPresence® video collaboration solutions to view live video, researchers at the Karolinska Insitutet, the medical university can now provide remote mentoring for surgeries during operations at other hospitals – potentially anywhere in the world. These live sessions serve as invaluable real-time training.
Experienced endoscopists at the Karolinska University Hospital perform more than 800 endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedures annually. ERCP involves cannulation (entering) of the papilla duct and is used primarily to diagnose and treat conditions of the bile ducts and main pancreatic duct, including gallstones, inflammatory strictures (scars), leaks (from trauma and surgery), and cancer.
The Karolinska Institutet accounts for over 40 percent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden. Research from numerous studies revealed that remote mentoring from high-volume ERCP centers with high cannulation success rates (entering the desired duct) will allow local hospitals with less experience (due to a low volume of ERCP procedures) to offer similar treatments and interventions that benefit both patients and healthcare providers. The cannulation of a "virgin" papilla remains the most difficult step in ERCP and the ERCP procedure fails without selective cannulation of the desired duct. The Innovation Centre at Karolinska University has established a telemedicine development unit which designed the program as an innovative way to help improve the skills and confidence of the surgeons in the regional hospitals throughout Sweden, while providing the highest quality patient care via access to scarce expertise.
The project is currently conducted by clinical staff based at two centers in Sweden under the management of gastro surgeon Urban Arnelo, with plans to develop this further to other regional district hospitals. The Karolinska University Hospital has a team of four consultant surgeons available to observe the operating room at Visby District Hospital on the island of Gotland, by making use of the real-time video provided by Polycom’s executive desktop solution (Polycom HDX® 4500). Visby District Hospital was selected for the project because it is the only hospital on the island and serves 57,000 inhabitants. The hospital carries out approximately 75 ERCP procedures annually; in around two thirds of these procedures, the examination is overseen by an experienced endoscopist from the Karolinska University Hospital over a Polycom RealPresence video link.
Visby Hospital endoscopists classified the teleguided mentoring as a crucial factor to the successful outcome in approximately half of the operations and the continued use of teleguided mentoring has improved the overall cannulation rate at the district hospital from 85 percent to 99 percent. Teleguided mentoring has also helped reduce procedure-related complications.
“Providing patients in remote rural areas the same quality healthcare as urban areas is a challenge. The video supported ERCP project addresses this challenge using innovative video technology from Polycom,” said Kristina Groth, Associate professor at MID/CSC/KTH responsible for telemedicine development at the Innovation Centre at Karolinska University Hospital. “Our telemedicine systems have reached the level where connecting and collaborating with remote surgeons over video is part of an informal daily, routine practice. This is important not only when optimizing professional results, but also when patient safety aspects, related legal issues, and data security dimensions are considered.”
Image quality is critical when showing live surgery to another surgeon. Polycom’s high-definition (HD) multipoint telemedicine link provides crystal-clear detail. The video provided by this system allows the senior consultant surgeon to observe the surgeons in the rural hospital. This has enhanced the quality of pre- and post-graduate education and training. Building on the success of this project, the university has also used Polycom video collaboration solutions successfully to provide video imaging for esophageal and duodenal stenting, thereby avoiding conventional palliative operations.
To extend these cutting-edge telemedicine advances in healthcare to other institutions and many more patients, Karolinska University Hospital is currently developing a business plan to offer telemedicine as a service to hospitals across Sweden. In addition, the university is using video collaboration in other use cases and business processes, for example to conduct multi-disciplinary meetings in areas such as oncology, and to improve communication internally and externally across the campus.