Khristina Atwal
Polycom Employee

Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa is building a hospital of the future with Polycom video, voice and content sharing solutions and with the support of our partner Kathea.


Still_05.pngWe recently shared the Red Cross Children’s Hospital CATHCHAT story, and how the hospital is making a difference from their base in Cape Town, South Africa.  We’ve been working really closely with our partner Kathea and the hospital to deploy solutions that will serve the hospital for the future and support their journey in building a brighter future for their patients.


The hospital receives around 260,000 patient visits each year, the majority of which are from exceptionally poor and marginalized communities and one third of the patients are younger than a year old.


The hospital faced a growing need for cardiac procedures in young patients, but had limited resources and access to highly experienced pediatric cardiologists. In an effort to broaden their ability to serve patients and to expand their local physician’s education, the hospital chose to implement Polycom video collaboration solutions in their pediatric interventional cardiac catheterization lab.


Still_04.pngAs a result of installing Polycom collaboration infrastructure, including Polycom® RealPresence® Web Suite and Polycom® RealPresence® Media Suite with the support of our partner, Kathea, the hospital professionals, are now equipped to learn from highly experienced cardiologists from across Africa and beyond to learn and teach paediatric interventional cardiac catheterisation live and in real time.


This open channel of learning will enable the hospital to connect with experts in remote locations whilst in theatre and during CATHCHAT sessions for guidance during complex procedures. The approach of the hospital is changing with an intention to build an efficient process for the future with the support of Polycom video collaborations.  Ultimately, the hospital has an objective to decrease patient waiting time and enable their cardiologists to treat even more patients than before.


Still_01.pngPolycom has been lucky enough to join the Red Cross Children’s Hospital during their CATHCHAT session which took place March 2016, more here if you missed the details. We capture some great footage which shows the complex procedures taking place in theatre while remote, experienced pediatric cardiologists are joining via video to support and advise where required.  Additionally, we were able to joining learning and teaching sessions where doctors and experts from the hospital are able to share their knowledge and experience.  To better understand the journey the hospital is taking with the support of Polycom and Kathea, please watch this short video clip or read the full case study here


Kathea_Final Logo_RGB-04.jpgThe CATHCHAT weeks have been very successful. With Polycom and Kathea, the Red Cross Children’s Hospital is building its concept to secure a bigger and better future for the people of Western Cape.




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Note - CATHCHAT is an invitation only session designed for medical professionals involved in paediatric cardiology, but interested partners and the general public can follow the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #CATHCHAT

Polycom Employee

I’m very pleased to reveal that the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, Blog Picture - 9th March, 2016.jpghas launched an exciting new initiative called CATHCHAT.  CATHCHAT will allow cardiologists from across Africa and beyond to learn and teach paediatric interventional cardiac catheterisation live on the RealPresence® Platform including Polycom® RealPresence® Web Suite and

Polycom® RealPresence® Media Suite.


Cardiac catheterisation, also known as heart cath, is the insertion of a catheter into a chamber or vessel of the heart[1]. In the case of Red Cross Children’s Hospital, the procedure, whether it is for diagnostic or interventional purposes, is helping save lives of children that have heart defects.


The hospital will now extend their learning sessions to the cardiologists and surgeons across Africa and the rest of the world. The participants who join the live event will be able to interact with the surgeon and contribute by posting questions, comments and suggestions during the broadcast.


The event will take place from 15th to 18th March 2016 and will witness a series of interventional cardiac catheterisation cases ranging from routine to complex. Dr Oliver Stumper from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, UK, will share his expertise during CATHCHAT.


The Red Cross Children’s Hospital has been a customer of Polycom and Kathea for many years.  I’m very privileged to have seen the project from the early days to these exciting developments.  Because of the advancement of the RealPresence Group Series and the RealPresence Platform, the hospital can now realise its vision of taking life saving techniques to poorer parts of Africa.  This is true collaboration that defies distance and saves lives.


Blog Picture - CathChat Logo - 9th March, 2016.PNGBecause of the nature of the live procedures and to respect patient confidentiality, CATHCHAT is an invitation only session designed for medical professionals involved in paediatric cardiology, but interested partners and the general public can follow the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #CATHCHAT


[1] Source: NHS England

Polycom Employee

As one of the leading hospitals for children's heart surgery in the United Kingdom, Evelina London children's hospital is a centre of excellence for paediatric cardiology amongst other services, and around 300 sick children pass through the doors every day. If you don't know where Evelina is, then it might surprise you to learn it is based inside the grounds of St. Thomas' hospital site, directly opposite the Houses of Parliament, London.


I had the pleasure of meeting the lead paediatric cardiologist Mr. John Simpson, Clinical Nurse Specialist Audit & Data Manager Thomas Witter and the Trust's telemedicine expert Frank Baldesare in early January, 2013.  At the time, the team were facing a particular challenge - if a procedure was underway in an operating theatre and an unexpected complication arose, it could take almost ninety minutes for the cardiologist to get scrubbed and gowned in order to enter the theatre.  Often, the cardiologist would only need a few short minutes to look at the echo; an ultrasound image produced by a Philips device, in order to recommend a course of action for the surgeon, but may compete with other clinical commitments on the ward or intensive care unit.


The team were convinced there was a way to overcome the lengthy time delay by using technology to enable a cardiologist to view the intraoperative images and communicate with the team in theatre. After a design session and a series of tests that spanned about eight months and involved the hospital's own Medical Physics department, IT, and the ultrasound manufacturer Philips, the decision was taken to put the telemedicine solution into use inside the operating theatre.


Take a look at the customer story and supporting video and you will learn how video collaboration enabled the team to save about 1,300 hours of consultants’ and surgeons’ time each year through the project.


And so, on 16th September 2013 (which just happened to be my birthday) the system was deployed.  Within hours, it was used for the first time during a procedure and the first successful case was recorded.


The solution shortens the time to review scans from 90 minutes to five minutes and enables quicker operations with less time under anaesthetic for patients. There is a profound improvement in the recovery time of a child by a reduction in anaesthetic, leading to a shorter stay in hospital and many other benefits.


The project has seen many successes within  the hospital, and has also been awarded the Collaborative Communications Product of the Year at the AV Awards 2014 by AV Magazine and the 2014 UK IT Industry Award - IT Project Demonstrating most effective use of Collaborative Technology by the prestigious British Computer Society and Computing Magazine.


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         Chris Boba of Polycom picks up AV Award, while I picked up BCS Computing Award with Frank from Guy's & St. Thomas'


I'm very proud the project has been recognized and I was honoured to be at the UK IT Award ceremony with Frank to pick up the Collaborative Technology award.  As we left the stage, we had lots of comments on how wonderful it was to see Evelina win, and that many of the well-wishers children had been treated at the hospital.


I thank the judges of both AV Magazine and the British Computer Society for recognising the fantastic work of the whole team.  This has been one of those projects when everyone had a clear vision of what was required, how to achieve it, and wanted to work together to put it all in place.






The on-demand webcast about Polycom's new breakthrough solutions is available for replay. Watch it now.

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