Reliance High-Tech recently provided a major national healthcare organisation with a cutting edge audiovisual (AV) and remote monitoring solution for its new clinical assessment centre.
At the turn of the millennium, professional regulation to define the standards of care that patients should expect from doctors was introduced, and in 2012 revalidation was introduced to make sure doctors reflect on, and improve, their practice throughout their careers.
Setting the standard
Good clinical skills and clear communication are key elements of effective practice and independent tests are carried out to ensure that individuals comply with required standards. The number of candidates applying to undertake clinical assessment has increased sharply over the past few years. As it important to offer test places to doctors when they need them, one leading healthcare organisation decided to take action and build a new test facility centre to double its capacity.
Now completed, this state-of-the-art clinical assessment centre can test up to 11,000 doctors each year. It comprises 80 rooms of two test circuits, each catering for 18 candidates at a time, with consultation rooms in which doctors are faced with a range of practical scenarios to test their ability to care for patients. The scenarios reflect real life consultations, with actors playing the role of patients and, in some cases, artificial intelligence (AI) enabled mannequins are used.
This type of testing is incredibly important and there is no room for error. As a significant financial and logistical investment, the facility incorporates the best of today’s monitoring equipment, which has been repurposed to meet the client’s specific requirements. Innovative technology allows invigilators to remotely monitor the performance of examiners, role players and candidates as clearly and accurately as possible. The solution also offers a high level of future proofing and future scalability to provide additional benefits as they became available.
As one of the UK’s leading independent security systems integrators serving major public and private sector organisations, Reliance High-Tech boasts over 40 years of experience and has highly accredited in-house design, installation and maintenance teams. Its record of successfully completing complex healthcare installations is unrivalled, and the company works closely in conjunction with its clients’ security and IT operations to combat physical, environmental and cyber threats.
Reliance High-Tech competed with 14 other companies to win this specific contract and Bruce Torrance, the company’s corporate solutions manager, comments, ‘It was clear that this brief could not be met with an off the shelf solution and that we would need to draw on our vast design expertise. We primarily work with security based technology, but this project needed to focus on AV equipment, so required a different approach that could also adhere to governance around the use of the client’s IT network infrastructure.’
Hard and soft
In terms of hardware, Reliance High-Tech suggested the use of two cameras per room, along with two-way audio and a microphone. However, the ‘brains’ of the new system relies on a software based solution to provide the kind of advanced functionality, such as lip-syncing, that helps invigilators make more informed decisions.
‘The real challenge here was in terms of the design and integration, as it was a mission critical installation,’ says Torrance. ‘We needed to use solutions from different vendors and make them work seamlessly – something that was successfully achieved via extensive testing and methodology based work. In total we installed 160 cameras with two-way audio and the microphones, which are linked to a software platform that is intuitive and simple to use. Invigilators use a touchscreen panel to go through to a specific room and we have also installed analytics software that will, in due course, be used to enhance the overall functionality and effectiveness of the system.’
The entire installation is also future proof, with new software updates performed as and when necessary. Just as importantly, as the installation is software driven, remote maintenance can be performed – something that helps both the client and Reliance High-Tech reduce their carbon emissions and meet their sustainability objectives.
‘We knew from the outset that this would be a challenging project that would require thinking outside the box,’ concludes Reliance High-Tech’s Bruce Torrance. ‘Not only were the client’s objectives met, and in many cases exceeded, the installation was carried out very smoothly thanks to our ability to familiarise ourselves with the site and ensure excellent levels of communication at all times.’
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