Efficient Collaboration between Specialists via Video Conferencing Enables a 360° Diagnosis
Johanniter-Krankenhaus im Fläming Treuenbrietzen GmbH, Brandenburg, Germany
The Johanniter-Krankenhaus im Fläming Treuenbrietzen GmbH is a recognized hospital with more than 380 hospital beds throughout three specialized clinics: The specialist hospital for internistic rheumatology, orthopedics and rheumatism surgery (rheumatology center in Brandenburg, since 2013 with the quality seal of the Association rheumatologic acute care facilities), the specialist clinic for psychiatry, psychotherapy and psychosomatics in Treuenbrietzen, Jüterbog and Bad Belzig, as well as the specialist hospital for pneymology, thoracic surgery and allergology. The German Cancer Society and the German Society for Thoracic Surgery have recognized and certified Johanniter-Krankenhaus im Fläming Treuenbrietzen GmbH as a recognized lung cancer center and a center of excellence for thoracic surgery since 2012. This specialist clinic serves the region of South Brandenburg.
“Lifesize enables external participants and even other hospitals to take part in our video conferences with minimal effort. Our old system in the operating theater demonstrates the limitations of a closed system. Lifesize allowed us to integrate the old system in the best possible way and use it effectively for our interdisciplinary tumor conferences.”
—Enrico Lappan, IT Team Leader, Johanniter-Krankenhaus im Fläming Treuenbrietzen GmbH
The organization’s ever-increasing specialization in medicine and associated focus on centers of excellence ensure optimal treatment of patients based on the latest developments made by specialists in their fields. The specialist pneumology, thoracic surgery and allergology clinic at the Johanniter-Krankenhaus im Fläming Treuenbrietzen GmbH brings together lung specialists, thoracic surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiation therapists, cardiologists, neurologists, experts in nuclear medicine, radiation therapists, psycho-oncological treatment, qualified nursing staff, physiotherapists, resident doctors and pastoral care to create one interconnected team.
Forming a special panel, a tumor conference, the team recommends a specific treatment plan for each individual patient while respecting relevant guidelines. Diagnoses can be discussed and queries can be raised immediately. For all of the specialists involved, this is a very interactive and purposeful way to collaborate, which enables a fast diagnosis and therefore a fast start to treatment for the patient.
Interdisciplinary tumor conferences take place once a week. In the past, external specialists such as radiation therapists, experts in nuclear medicine or pathologists have had to physically travel from their bases to the city of Brandenburg. This was far from practical, as it was time-consuming and costly.
In addition, the specialist pneumology, thoracic surgery and allergology clinic at the Johanniter-Krankenhaus im Fläming Treuenbrietzen GmbH also wanted to connect more effectively with the general hospitals in Brandenburg in order to strengthen their cooperation and improve other pneumological diagnoses such as pulmonary emphysema, COPD and interstitial lung diseases.
The cloud-based Lifesize video conferencing technology was implemented to support the interdisciplinary tumor conferences. This allows external specialists from a range of fields to take part in the discussions in Treuenbrietzen. The conference room was equipped with a Lifesize® Icon™ 800 HD camera and phone system and three large, high-definition 65″ screens that show the speakers, the presentation (x-rays, live images from operations, etc.) and the documents (entries in the documentation system) to guarantee that all participants are able to see all of the information they need.
In accordance with German Medical Product Law, an old (Polycom) video conferencing system was installed in the operating theater in 2013, but it only supported point-to-point connections. However, this technology was seamlessly integrated and continues to be used thanks to the open interfaces of the cloud-based Lifesize video conferencing solution. This enables live broadcasting from the operating theater directly into the interdisciplinary tumor conference.
External experts are now able to quickly and easily connect using a laptop and their web browsers (WebRTC). They can also use the Lifesize desktop app (available for Windows® and Mac®), the Lifesize mobile app (available for Android™, iOS and Windows), Skype for Business or other video conferencing solutions (e.g., Polycom®, Cisco® and Avaya®) to take part in the interdisciplinary tumor conferences. The standards-based interoperability of the cloud-based Lifesize video conferencing service was a deciding factor in the clinic’s choice of provider because it is the only way to ensure effective and smooth, user-friendly collaboration with a wide range of different organizations and partners.
The Lifesize video conferencing system is open to all departments and organizational units at the Johanniter-Krankenhaus im Fläming Treuenbrietzen GmbH. Its cloud-based architecture enables the system to scale seamlessly if user numbers and load increase over time. The Johanniter-Krankenhaus im Fläming Treuenbrietzen GmbH is pushing to expand this communication platform to cope with increasing demands in patient care. Clinical and pathological case conferences, tumor conferences, second opinions and on-time report sharing are now simplified and quickly organized.
This interdisciplinary video conference-based collaboration between clinics and resident specialists is only made possible thanks to seamless and standards-based interoperability of the cloud-based Lifesize video conferencing technology.
“Faced with the possibility of ever-increasing specialization in medicine, we must work together in the interest of our patients. Video conferencing enables us to drastically reduce the time between the initial diagnosis and a definitive treatment recommendation.”
— Dr. Olaf Schega, Senior Thoracic Surgery Consultant, Johanniter-Krankenhaus im Fläming Treuenbrietzen GmbH