UK health trust tests BT’s remote diagnostic station

News

One of the largest NHS trusts is trialling remote diagnostic technology developed by BT.

BT’s Remote Diagnostic Station enables clinicians at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) to give remote clinical support using digital stethoscopes and electrocardiograms (ECGs) to provide diagnoses for patients, in real-time and over a converged 4G/5G and Wi-Fi network.

The station includes a high-definition camera that can be worn during patient consultations, giving clinicians a clear bedside view of patients.

UHB is currently trialling the station in its Norman Power Centre, an off-site, purpose-built facility that provides intermediate care for patients who are preparing to return home. Clinicians from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital have been testing real-time and virtual consultations using the station’s end-to-end connectivity solutions.

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.”

Future potential

The trial complements UHB’s outpatient video consultation activity, which has expanded in recent months during the COVID-19 crisis. It is also part of a long-term partnership between BT and UHB and follows on from the UK’s first remote ultrasound and Connected Ambulance test over a live public 5G network in 2019.

Fotis Karonis, CTIO at BT Enterprise’s unit, said, “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.

“At BT we are committed to helping the NHS respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerate digital-first healthcare. We’re proud to work with the 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.”