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B4RN Focus: Enabling Remote Healthcare

March 7th, 2023
Posted In: Latest news

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B4RN has spoken to the experts about the need for reliable, high-speed broadband to enable the ever-increasing use of remote healthcare.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of things like telehealth for a growing range of clinical needs.

Even as medical practices are returning to pre-pandemic operations, patients and providers continue to employ remote healthcare at levels that far exceed its use before 2019.

For some, it's as basic as being able to send pictures to help a GP diagnose a minor ailment. For others with more serious conditions it enables, for example, remote monitoring for people with heart problems; or it allows a cancer patient to have an appointment by video call instead of having to make a potentially stressful journey by road or public transport.

Whatever the service being provided, it's underpinned by reliable connectivity, something B4RN offers in spades. We've asked a trio of B4RN-connected medical experts for their views on what B4RN enables...

Tim Dawson (pictured), Pathologist (Quernmore)

“I’m a pathologist. A rare breed. I specialise in brains. We are not always around when, for example, somebody might be having an operation in Preston. They might want an intra-operative diagnosis… taking a bit of tissue out and putting it on a glass slide. I’m here at home, half an hour away on a good day.

“One technology we’re starting to use in pathology is distance reporting. We have a system installed at Preston which allows you to take a glass slide and put it under a high-quality optical scanner and that goes onto a server which I can link into from home. So they can call me and say [this patient’s] smears are ready, could you have a look at it. So I can look at these 500Mb sized files. This is simply not possible on slower connections. And of course, this is potentially global – these slides could be from Africa rather than Preston.

“I think that’s a very pertinent point. B4RN is enabling technologies to work from home which are improving healthcare and access to healthcare.”

Mark Wilkinson, Clinical Lead for Intensive Care (Cantsfield)

"We saw the significant benefit and importance of fast internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"My wife's also a GP and having B4RN allowed us to work at home but still maintain good quality work and information from patient records and particularly scans (which are data heavy) as well as facilitating remote meetings with colleagues locally, nationally and internationally. This was important to ensure access to the best clinical advice on managing Covid-19 and other conditions.

"It was so important to us that we had access to the most up-to-date publications and research - mostly only accessible online with fast, reliable service. Such connectivity is now an essential need and there needs to be a realisation nationally that work carried out by people living in rural areas is essential and the idea that rural areas can be overlooked is outdated and wrong."

Ian Grant, retired Consultant Haematologist (Garsdale)

"Living in an isolated small community meant we had slow and at times unreliable broadband. This problem was accentuated by the pandemic and the need to work at home.

"As a Consultant Haematologist (now retired) it was essential I had fast reliable broadband. B4RN arrived to our home and transformed the way I was able to work. I had fast and reliable access to the hospital network and also had the potential now to download complex files such as CT scans to review. I was able to see patient notes and dictate letters across B4RN without any hint of hold up due to its gigabit speed. I had instant access to medical journals and other medical literature always essential in modern day care.

"Getting B4RN literally changed my working life and made a significant contribution to the high quality of care I was able to give to my patients during the pandemic. Having ready access to all the information I required via B4RN meant I was able to advise colleagues and GPs quickly due to the speed of the fibre network. This meant that I could offer a fast responsive service to those seeking my advice."

B4RN continues to get rural communities connected to gigabit full fibre broadband, putting these areas at the forefront of what is possible with remote healthcare. Meanwhile, B4RN has previously worked with Kraydel to trial video call technology targeting the elderly - one application included use by carers.

To find out more about how the award-winning B4RN network works, head to our Homepage or follow us on social media:
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