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

We’ve plenty of evidence to support the importance of video within the healthcare industry, both in clinical and administrative
environments, but what about practical advice? A telemedicine deployment needs careful planning and consideration if you are going to derive productivity gains and cost savings, and most importantly; improve patient outcomes. Derived from my experience, here are the top five considerations:


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  1. Establish a workgroup or steering committee of individuals from your organisation who will contribute to the selection of a solution.  These should include someone from IT/networks, a clinician or medical person who will actually use the solution, a finance person who will be involved in justifying the cost and producing the business plan or approving the purchase, and – most importantly – a trusted partner from industry, such as a consultant, subject matter expert or supplier who has experience in this area. (I can help you with this one if you need help finding a trusted partner – feel free to get in touch with me.)
  2. Clearly define the objective for implementing a solution based on technology.  If you want a method of providing emergency medical second opinion during out of hours, put the reason in a concise statement, leaving out the technology aspect and concentrating on the application
  3. Get everyone to meet and produce an Output Based Specification (OBS) of what you want the solution to do.  Again, leaving out the technology, the OBS document should have input from each of the steering committee.  IT will want to ensure the solution doesn’t eat up all their network bandwidth and is secure enough to discuss patient confidential information.  The clinician will want to ensure the solution offers clear, uninterrupted conversation and is simple to use, yet consistently reliable.  Gather each of these requirements and list them in sections in your OBS.  (I have a template for an OBS if you need one – get in touch.)
  4. Invite your suppliers to demonstrate and present their solution to you.  Ask them where else their solution is in use.  Seeking user references is by far the best method of peer recommendation you can get.  You can learn from their experiences, both good and bad
  5. Perhaps most important is to check their solutions are interoperable.  Do they work with the majority of other manufacturer’s technology?  You are going to trust your investment and the way you deliver your future service to your patients with these people

Let me know if you need more information as to how to find a trusted partner or how to complete and Output Based Specification (OBS).

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