Atlantic Health System is a New Jersey-based leader in quality healthcare services. The nonprofit healthcare system includes multiple teaching hospitals, which were early adopters of distance learning. The healthcare provider has earned a host of awards and designations, including recognition for 10 consecutive years as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, as well as the official healthcare partner of the New York Jets.
Starting in 1998, Atlantic Health System and Liberty Science Center began conducting a live educational program featuring two-way interactive videoconferences between operating rooms in Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center to the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey. The program allows students to observe surgical cases in the cardiac open-heart surgery and neurosurgery fields and allows them to ask questions of the OR staff while the case is progressing.
The Live From Surgery sessions are presented by Liberty Science Center in their interactive theater or 3D science theater, in addition to being transmitted directly into classrooms worldwide using distance learning technology. This unique program utilizes Polycom videoconferencing equipment to connect the operating rooms with the Liberty Science Center and beyond.
Starting in 2004, Video Corporation of America was tasked with controlling the technical aspects, with the responsibility to manage and maintain distance learning and videoconference equipment and connections for the Atlantic Health System and Liberty Science Center Live From Cardiac Classroom and Neurosurgery programs.
VCA assumed control of the technical production for the Live From programs and began weekly involvement facilitating the videoconferencing services for each case. Atlantic Health System determined that outsourcing these videoconferencing services allowed them greater flexibility and access to service and support personnel to keep their videoconferences most effectively operational.
In 2006, VCA upgraded the original V-tel operating room equipment to new Polycom VSX 8000 codecs, EVI-D100 cameras from Sony, and new Shure wireless microphones. Additionally, Atlantic Health System switched their connection from older ISDN PRI technology and installed a dedicated T1 connection, allowing IP videoconferencing to any capable site.
In 2014, VCA again upgraded the audiovisual technology at the Morristown and Overlook Medical Centers with new HD cameras and codecs, providing the capability for high definition broadcasts to the Liberty Science Center. Atlantic Health System has hosted connections to other learning institutions in the United States as well as those abroad, including London and Scotland.
Today, VCA continues to manage and maintain the distance learning and videoconferencing equipment at Atlantic Health System, enabling students to learn from the live cases at the hospitals. VCA personnel make routine weekly trips into the operating rooms to man the conferencing gear for the program and to conduct tests and maintenance on the systems. The interactive Live From programs demonstrate the power and reach of technology by enabling students worldwide to visit the OR from the classroom and see exactly what the doctors see. The outcome is a powerful learning experience that exposes students to careers in biotechnology and medical science.