Last week we had the opportunity to feature one of our customers in the frontlines of the UK healthcare space, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT), as a part of our ongoing customer webinar series. The panelists from GSTT comprised of Frank Baldesare (Enterprise Architect), Andrew Lyddon (Senior Digital Media Services Technician) and Justin Rock (Senior Digital Media Services Technician). The webinar was hosted by Paul Scholey (SVP and GM, International) from BlueJeans. For the Q&A section, the group was joined by Daniel Morris, Solutions Specialist at SSC AVS, who worked with GSTT and BlueJeans to ensure the BlueJeans deployment went smoothly.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is among the UK's most renowned and most successful foundation trusts, with a long history of high-quality care. The Trust consists of two of London's best-known teaching hospitals – St Thomas' Hospital and Guy's Hospital. It also includes Evelina London Children’s Hospital and adult and children’s community services in Lambeth and Southwark. GSTT is part of King’s Health Partners, one of only six academic health sciences centers in the UK. GSTT also ranks consistently high for patient and staff satisfaction among government hospitals in the UK.
The primary use case for BlueJeans within the Trust has been facilitating Multidisciplinary Team (MDTs) Meetings. With the goal of providing the best treatment option for patients, MDTs are meetings where a group of specialists from different clinical disciplines come together to make decisions for a patient’s treatment. These meetings can typically have anywhere from 10 to 60 participants, spread across different hospitals and locations within the Trust. Before BlueJeans, the meetings were conducted from conference rooms located in different facilities, using traditional video conferencing. The team at GSTT realized that this closed system that relied on bridge connections to connect H.323 room systems needed to be modernized, and that’s where BlueJeans came in.
Because of the pandemic, GSTT made the decision to roll out BlueJeans several weeks ahead of when it was originally planned to be deployed. Frank, Justin and Andrew knew that they had to keep the MDTs running as smoothly and efficiently as possible in order to facilitate critical treatments that could not wait until the situation normalized. The team also considered it essential to enable consultants to join from the safety of their homes if they had to isolate due to the virus. With support from BlueJeans’ onboarding, account and support teams and SCC AVS, GSTT was able to get up and running in a matter of days.
With BlueJeans, MDT participants do not need to be physically present in a conference room anymore. They can join from anywhere, using the device of their choosing. Since deploying BlueJeans, the number of MDTs has gone up from 60 a week to about 800 meetings a week.
“It’s changed the way we work. First and foremost, our main priority is to care for our patients. That’s one of our values. No matter where we work, everything we do will impact a patient,” Justin Rock says. With the pandemic drastically impacting the ability of the Trust to deliver care, the GSTT team expressed that having BlueJeans ready to go was paramount in ensuring continued care for patients who relied on them.
When asked what advice the team at GSTT would have for organizations trying to scale quickly rather than take a more traditional, planned approach, Justin states “You will have users who don’t want to adopt it. You just have to go with it. Once they start using it and see how easy it is, they do embrace it.”
Frank, Justin and Andrew and the GSTT IT team tested about seven or eight different platforms and BlueJeans appeared to be the best solution. Andrew, with this background in audio technology, thought the Dolby Audio in BlueJeans stood out from the rest of the solutions. “Despite video being important, audio is still king when it comes to continuing a conversation,” Andrew Lyddon says. Justin loves being able to use Command Center and having all the information needed to troubleshoot any issues. Baldesare mentions having the BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams to connect their room systems to Microsoft Teams to also be an important consideration in the overall decision making.
The team expects the use of video to be pervasive and predicts it to continue beyond the coronavirus pandemic. Andrew, Justin and Frank and are getting requests from patient groups to have video enabled meetings rather than have patients come to the hospital, keeping them safe, and saving time and money. The first few meetings with patients over BlueJeans have gone well, with overall positive feedback from patients. Andrew Lyddon expects meetings such as post-treatment follow-ups, therapy sessions, consultations etc. to be well suited for video meetings and expects these sessions to be conducted over videos even after the pandemic is over. By reducing patient travel time, freeing up of hospital resources and increasing overall safety for patients – video meetings with patients over BlueJeans are considered a win by all.