A new era of peer-to-peer remote consultation

December 16, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a worldwide surge in the use of videoconferencing applications to replace face-to-face conversations between business colleagues. But while they’re adequate for everyday meetings, ordinary video chat services aren’t fully optimised for the demands of real-time consultation between surgeons, clinicians, care teams and medical researchers.

Beyond the limits of video conferencing

Travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus crisis highlighted the need for more effective remote communication between clinicians. Mainstream conferencing tools, cannot always guarantee good picture quality necessary for surgical video and can have security vulnerabilities. However, there exists solutions that are created specifically for a medical environment that run over the hospital IT infrastructure.

Two masked surgeons pointing at a tablet screen while speaking
Female doctor viewing surgical footage on a desktop monitor

Catering for real-world clinical needs

Purpose-built video sharing platforms, like Sony’s NUCLeUS™ system, together with low-latency video from room cameras and other imaging modalities – can stream audio and other patient-related data over the IP network to remotely based clinicians. They could be working at a neighbouring hospital and view the data almost real time on a laptop or display – allowing them to discuss critical aspects of a patient’s condition and their care pathway with the surgical team.

Unique requirements of peer to peer consultations

Tools like NUCLeUS are optimised for use in medical environments, offering valuable features like the ability to annotate areas of interest in a live video stream supported by two-way audio communication. The ability to highlight certain areas of a live video and direct conversation is key for peer to peer conference, supporting a doctor in an Operating Room or ICU and discuss particular aspects of a patient’s condition with a specialist at a remote location.

Three surgeons in active discussion in front of a display
View of an OR showing surgery in progress and monitors showing vital signs

Safeguarding patients and their personal data

Using any video communication system in a medical environment raises questions about the protection of patients’ interests, particularly in relation to security and confidentiality. Systems like NUCLeUS use a high level of data encryption technology for security. As an additional refinement, NUCLeUS features a Privacy Mode, which allows surgical staff to disable transmission and recording from a room camera at the press of a button in situations where there’s a risk that a patient’s identity could be inadvertently revealed.

Enabling global collaboration

Until now, surgeons have typically picked up the phone or sent an email to ask the advice of colleagues at another hospital. Video-based communication is also enabling more effective international collaboration between research teams and hospital-based clinicians. Platforms like NUCLeUS allow medical researchers to tap directly into the insight and experience of a doctor or consultant, even if they’re based at a hospital kilometres away.

A female doctor in gesturing as she talks to someone on her laptop

Discover the smart digital imaging platform for hospitals

NUCLeUS is an IP based imaging platform that streamlines the management and distribution of video content, audio, still images and even patient data – across standard hospital IT network.

Find out more >

Two doctors looking at an annotated surgical image streamed to a desktop monitor via the NUCleUS platform