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King Faisal hospital in Riyadh has implemented a network based videoconferencing solution to share expertise and help with operations.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  December 22, 2004

|~|FVC-KSA-Project-1_m.jpg|~|“King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre is a leading medical institution providing the highest quality patient care. It is our policy to provide the best possible services using well proven and state of the art equipment and technologies.” - Dr Abdel Rahman Salim, consultant general and laproscopic surgeon at King Faisal Hospital|~|King Faisal hospital in Riyadh turned to FVC to implement a network-based videoconferencing solution to improve medical training and consultation during operations. The initial scope of the project was to provide multiple live videoconferencing sessions from various operating rooms to postgraduate classrooms and auditoriums. The project, which was extended to provide connectivity with other hospitals in Saudi Arabia and throughout the world, was implemented in the summer of 2004. The solution was implemented by Dubai-based video solutions provider First Video Communications (FVC) and created a multimedia network including infrastructure, videoconferencing systems, video streaming and network based digital video recording. FVC also worked with Saudi Business Machines (SBM) on the implementation. “Our technical experts in the field of networking and audio-visual have evaluated many different products and selected the FVC solution as offering the highest possible quality services,” says Dr Abdel Rahman Salim, consultant general and laproscopic surgeon at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre. “King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre is a leading medical institution providing the highest quality patient care. It is our policy to provide the best possible services using well proven and state of the art equipment and technologies,” he adds. King Faisal primarily uses the videoconferencing system to provide live sessions including surgeries, lectures and presentations to audiences in classrooms and auditoriums around the world, with surgeries and educational presentations carried out from countries such as Belgium, Canada, France, India and Italy as well as from the military hospital in Riyadh. “We also use the system to transmit live surgeries from multiple operating rooms simultaneously to various classrooms and auditoriums,” says Salim. “The videoconferencing sessions provide two way communication enabling surgeons to educate the audience as they perform the surgery and also allows the audience to ask questions,” he adds. The hospital has been impressed with the high quality of the video recording as well as the increased efficiency in communications brought by the system. “The high quality video and audio transmission is a most beneficial feature,” says Salim. “It shows impressive detail of surgical procedures and provides the ability to include remote consultations and directions by consultants. It also enables cost effective advanced training and education that was not possible in the past,” he explains. Previously it was difficult to conduct this type of education as operating rooms can accommodate only a very limited audience. Exacerbating factors are that the audience feel fatigue and discomfort during long operations, and it becomes more difficult to maintain sterilisation and operating room procedures. The hospital also uses the system to create a resource of digitally recorded rare surgeries for later on-demand viewing. “Digital recording, encoding and editing of surgical procedures is another major benefit,” says Salim. “We are gradually building a library of rare operations, which can be delivered to authorised physicians using video streaming and playback on-demand,” he adds. Video capture and recording, editing, encoding, storage, and playback are currently available, and the hospital is testing webcasting and a remote access service to the multimedia network. This is intended to extend the benefits of the solution to authorised people, hospitals, and other institutions over the internet or using public telephony. The system saw its most extensive use to date during the International Minimum Invasive Surgery Symposium, which took place September 20-22. Dr Salem was the chairman of the symposium and headed the event. The main themes were minimum invasive surgery using endoscopes and robotics surgery using remote surgery. The videoconferencing solution ensured that live broadcasts of surgeries were transmitted directly from operating rooms to conference halls and auditoriums. “The great success of the International Minimally Invasive and Robotics Surgery Symposium opens the door for many future applications and additions to be considered. Our technical experts are evaluating a number of new ways he multimedia network can be used to help us meet our objectives,” says Salim. FVC focused heavily on Polycom products on the video side, with iPower 9000 systems taking on the most demanding chores. This platform links to the many cameras that are sited in the operating rooms and routes the video data on to the network, where it can be broadcast to other rooms within the hospital. “We set up multiple video sources in the operating rooms including top view, ceiling or surgical light mounted cameras, as well as side view cameras mounted on the walls,” says Waeil Elkadi, advisory integrated technology services representative, SBM. “For more detailed examination we also linked endoscope cameras, PCs and X-Ray equipment inside the operating room,” he adds. The system also uses France Telecom spin-off Envivo to provide video streaming solutions, which facilitate broadcasting footage over the internet. The video system sits on a Cisco-based infrastructure, with 6500 core switches and Cisco 3750 stackable switches deployed. “We integrated the video system with existing infrastructure and facilities. For example, the videoconferencing solution was integrated with operating room equipment so they could share the benefits of using the same control system,” says Ahmed Youssef, territory manager for FVC. This integration is designed to optimise ease of use in the operating theatre. It allows, for example, cameras and other graphic sources to be selected from touch screens. Also, as the dedicated multimedia network integrates with the existing data network via multi-Gigabit links, the procedures can be recorded to video capture servers as well as on VCR and DVD based recorders. Furthermore, the solution integrates with the hospital’s existing audio-visual network. This is achieved at the Audio Visual Centre and enables selected procedures to be broadcast and displayed at any location covered by the AV network as a normal TV channel. The network uses fibre for most of its links, with both MultiMode and SingleMode deployed depending on the length of the link. For links within the same wiring cabinet, Al Faisal opted to utilise copper. In terms of management, Al Faisal uses a number of dedicated software applications to run parts of its complex network. Polycom Global Management System takes care of the video side, while a combination of IBM NetView and CiscoWorks handles chores on the data network side. King Faisal has introduced no special measures to ensure the security of the video solution and instead relies on existing network security which includes system access control and authentication, antivirus protection, intrusion detection and firewalls, with session encryption also used when required.||**||

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