IT & Infrastructure
Almost every business problem can be solved in part or in whole by IT using an astute selection of software and the hardware it runs on. Business can automate, capitalise on previously unseen trends and bring people thousands of miles apart together through IT.
Yet, even today, there are organisations that are relying on paper for mission-critical business processes. Most businesses are paying costly annual software licences when they can have similar software for free.
Onley Group can dramatically cut your annual IT bill. We can replace cumbersome business processes with secure, low-cost automated systems that get the job done effectively and release more value.
- Category: IT & Infrastructure
- Published on Friday, 16 September 2011 20:46
PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A leading healthcare provider has approached Onley Group to deliver a new region-wide telemedicine platform to improve the care of stroke and cancer patients. Onley Group will produce a bespoke system to replace a previous multinational IT firm's effort at a fraction of the cost.
Cancer and stroke are the second and third biggest healthcare burdens in the UK respectively. Every year in the UK there are 150,0001 new stroke cases and 250,0002 new diagnoses of cancer. Both stroke and cancer each represent a heterogenous group of diseases and therefore optimal treatment differs widely from one patient to the next. Specialist care is essential in both diseases: stroke units reduce mortality by up to 25%1, and the multi-disciplinary team system of managing oncology cases improves patient experience3.
In the UK, there are over 190 hospitals which receive stroke and cancer patients, and these are distributed across 10 main regions. Stroke Consultants, Oncologists and Haematology Consultants usually have subspecialty interests making them experts in particular types of stroke and cancer, however the distribution of subspecialty expertise across a region is often uneven. Certain types of stroke (such as haemorrhagic in under 50s) and certain cancers (such as sarcomas) require highly specialised treatment only available from large teaching hospitals or national centres of excellence. Expertise and treatment facilities therefore vary from hospital to hospital across a region, yet all hospitals will receive and diagnose the full gamut of stroke and cancer cases. Therefore every hospital in the region must have access to specialist advice regardless of location, despite not necessarily having the appropriate specialists on-site. The cornerstone of care has become the MDT meeting where specialist doctors, nurses and therapists from hospitals all across the region, meet via teleconference to discuss the region's new cases and decide on optimal treatment. Secure video and audio communication links between hospitals at the regional level are therefore essential for good stroke and cancer care.
With the advent of clot-busting therapy (thrombolysis) for certain common stroke cases, time from symptom onset to treatment is incredibly important. The sooner qualifying patients receive thrombolytic therapy, the smaller the area of damage to their brain. However, as thrombolysis carries certain major risks such as cerebral haemorrhage, the decision to thrombolyse can only be taken by specialist Neurologists or Stroke Physicians. Out-of-hours, most hospitals do not have a suitably qualified doctors on-site and rely on advice from an on-call Stroke doctor at the regional level. Remote assessment of stroke cases requires the ability to view head CT / MRI scans, detailed discussion with the admitting doctor and sometimes even demonstration of clinical signs on a video link. Instantly-available, user-friendly, high-fidelity, stable communication links are therefore essential to run a successful regional thrombolysis service.
Onley Group has been approached to design, develop, install and quality-control a new generation medical telepresence network for a UK region. The healthcare provider selected Onley Group due to our strong experience of making technology that is actually useable, and that we could offer a qualified doctor with stroke and oncology experience as the software architect.
The network needs to be secure to ensure full patient confidentiality. All hospitals must be capable of two way audio and video communication with the teleconference group. It must be possible to connect and disconnect teleconference participants during a conference call without interrupting the call. The network should be capable of transmitting high-fidelity video to permit the display of microscope slides and radiology imaging. The system must be user-friendly and easy to establish a connection with another remote hospital within a minute with minimal training. Calls should be robust, resistant to drop-outs and picture frame freezes. We are confident we can meet and exceed the criteria.
The new network will replace the current system which was conceived by a large IT multinational firm. The current system has been deemed unsuitable due to picture freezes, caller drop-outs and instability when conferencing more than three participants. It also required exotic hardware which was prohibitively expensive for smaller hospitals to gain access to the network. Part of the problem was the system's reliance on ISDN lines which are low-bandwidth, expensive to install and rent, and also carry a cost associated with each call.
Onley Group will design and construct a system which is low cost, more stable and more secure. We will use off-the-shelf computing components for each network node making upgrade and replacement of components cheap. We will employ some of the latest video and audio codecs to keep required bandwidth-per-node low. Custom modified versions of open source software will be used where possible to reduce licensing costs yet still maintain quality and security. Video and audio will be transmitted encrypted with only the clients who have the correct 128-bit (changeable) passkey able to join the call. The system will operate over ASDL using multicasting and central composite video stream generating servers to reduce the bandwidth required across the network. Video will be high-fidelity, offering a quality comparable to HD television, with scalable quality to ensure the call continues through periods of heavy network congestion.
Onley Group will deliver the network with a set-up cost that is one-eighth of the cost of the current system, and with annual licensing costs at just one-sixth of the current system. The project will be led by one of our specialists from the Technical Consulting division who is also a fully qualified medical doctor with experience in Stroke Medicine and Oncology. No other company is able to match our quoted price nor the level of our industry expertise.
- The Stroke Association. Facts and figures about stroke. 2010. http://www.stroke.org.uk/media_centre/facts_and_figures/index.html
- Cancer Research Association. Cancer incidence - UK statistics. 2010. http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/incidence/all-cancers-combined/
- The NHS Cancer plan and the new NHS. 2004. http://www.dh.gov.uk/dr_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/documents/digitalasset/dh_4092537.pdf