4G technologies provide diagnostic image transmission services at Nightingale Hospital

Author : Julie Williams | EU Marketing Specialist – Industrial IoT | Advantech

01 August 2020

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To accelerate diagnosis & treatment of COVID-19 patients, UK-based specialist in medical image acquisition, distribution, management & display solutions, Visbion partnered with IoT & embedded computing expert, Advantech & M2M communications solution provider, Adey Electronics to offer the NHS a fast & secure solution for sending CT scans from mobile CT scanner units to hospitals.

This case study was originally featured in the August 2020 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

This allows medical professionals to plan appropriate treatments more quickly, thereby saving lives and giving comfort to infected people. Julie Williams, EU Marketing Specialist – Industrial IoT at Advantech tells the story…

During the early planning stages of the UK’s response to tackling emergency treatment for patients suffering with COVID-19, Visbion, a specialist in medical image acquisition, distribution, management & display solutions, were approached to help provide the technology infrastructure for the screening of patient’s lungs, in order to evaluate treatment strategies.

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Background

The NHS Nightingale hospital, launched at the ExCeL conference centre in east London on April 3rd 2020, was constructed and operational in just 10 days. This meant that there were significant pressures to deliver an operational and proven lung screening solution in a very short lead-time. Encrypted transmission of scans direct from the scanning trailer within the Nightingale facilities were required for the NHS Trusts to ensure specialist reporting of the images and safe archiving.

Because of the time limitations and requirements for an extremely reliable and highly secure method of data transmission, 4G cellular technologies were the clear choice to deliver on all technical, budgetary and rapid deployment criteria.

Solution

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The Visbion Image Cube, an intelligent routing, translation, compression and encryption appliance, ensures scans are transferred rapidly and securely to the hospital’s systems, ready for immediate diagnosis. Utilising high speed 4G mobile networks provides highly efficient remote support and management of the system. When the mobile unit is deployed, the Image Cube automatically connects to the approved network, so that it is ready to scan and send data immediately, without the need for costly fixed line fibre or Ethernet networks to be installed, helping avoid onsite installation delays.

By using a customised hardware solution, comprised of an Advantech 4G router, featuring always-on connectivity, providing the real-time CT scan file transmission service, and a bespoke Mobile Mark dual 4G and GPS antenna, provided by Adey Electronics, Visbion were able to reliably ensure communications were established to its screening kit immediately.

The Advantech industrial dual SIM 4G Libratum router means the best mobile network is intelligently monitored and selected to provide optimum throughput, reliability and performance. This is invaluable when connected to critical devices that require ‘always-on’ connectivity. The high-gain customised antenna provides a robust means of establishing external wireless communications to the mobile unit in a challenging and congested airspace within the busy ExCeL centre.

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To provide full visibility and management of the solution remotely, Visbion also utilised the Advantech RSeeNet secure management platform, to gain on-site visibility of the 4G performance and connectivity statistics, and to get notifications to manage the communications system and provide the best solution to support the frontline team to ensure seamless transmissions.

Stefan Claesen, Visbion CEO said: “We are proud to be working to support the medical response during this coronavirus crisis. We have extensive experience in this type of mobile connectivity, and we are delighted that our Image Cube managed service can help deliver benefits to the NHS at such a key time. Our long-term partnership with Advantech channel partner, Adey Electronics has been invaluable in providing a robust rapid deployment communications solution, using Advantech hardware and software platforms, which provides our Image Cube with instant and seamless integration to the mobile and hospital networks.”

Because the Visbion Image Cube and Advantech cellular connectivity delivered such promising performance at the London Nightingale Hospital, NHS England have subsequently decided to deploy similar systems in other Nightingale hospitals located in Harrogate, Birmingham and Bristol.

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In addition to continuously improving the Visbion Image Cube, Visbion, Advantech and Adey Electronics are also equipping mobile medical vehicles with GPS technology.

Medical equipment, such as MRI, CT, X-ray and mammography machines installed in mobile medical vehicles, are very delicate, so a solution for monitoring the location, speed and driver behaviour of these specialist vehicles is required. To meet this need for medical fleet management, Visbion’s new monitoring platform will soon be integrated with Advantech routers and management panels, which will provide each client with remote configuration functions and comprehensive location and status information for each vehicle, in a continuing effort to help hospitals fight against COVID-19 and other unknown future pandemics.


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