Lecture hall upgrade completed by Pure AV enhances educational facilities at Lancashire Teaching Hospital’s Health Academy.

The Health Academy is based at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and operates from three specialised educational units situated on-site at Chorley and Preston hospitals. The recent upgrade of the large lecture hall at the Royal Preston Hospital is part of a rolling enhancement of facilities designed to support the Health Academy’s mission for safe, effective and compassionate care through educational excellence.

The lecture hall accommodates up to 130 in traditional tiered seating style, and its use for mandatory training, visiting lectures and events results in over 500 people a week passing through the venue.

“The hall gets used most days if not 2-3 times a day, we run training during the day and we can also have evening events as well, anything from 50 - 130 people at a time”.

Dorcas Walker, Education Centre Manager, The Heath Academy

Before the refurbishment, students were faced with uncomfortable seating and difficulties with both hearing the presenter and image clarity as the old system struggled to cope with sometimes complex medical imagery and increased usage of high definition content.

For regular room users like Kenny Lyon, Head of Mandatory Education for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, audio was an issue and the need for content to be heard would result in audio quality being sacrificed to volume;

“In the old days when running a media clip we would have to have the volume very loud at the front so that people could hear it at back of the room; now you don't have to do that, you can have the volume set a reasonable level but everybody can hear it throughout the room.”

To improve audio quality, Pure AV introduced new radio mics, an acoustic survey of the room ensured speaker placement and audio levels were optimised and the introduction of a Extron DMP 128 DSP provides the on-site audio visual team with enhanced audio control. Enabling program and microphone audio to be distributed separately and effectively, for an enhanced listening experience.

Extron DMP 128 DSP

The front of room is designed to offer flexibility and ease of use for the presenter and to create a high quality, engaging experience for the audience. The three audience facing displays provide the presenter with a flexible canvas on which to deliver content. A large central projection screen provides the core presentation space and two 65” Philips signage screens positioned either side offer space for supporting content, branding or for the integration of live content such as twitter walls.

Mike Porter, Senior Educational Technologies Support for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals explained,

“Making use of the side screens was an interesting new concept particularly when we run interactive events with a live social media wall…people can take questions both from the audience and from people watching online. It’s also great for the display of supporting content, referring to an X-ray for example; you can pull that image up onto the main screen but keep the presentation running on the side displays”.

The screens also provide the Trust with an opportunity to support the branding of visiting companies with the screens offering an additional area to display the external company logo.

Control for the presenter is kept straight forward with a 7” Extron touch panel designed using consistent Health Academy assets and programmed by Pure AV to offer a simple user interface. The addition of a 43” screen facing the lectern as a confidence monitor further enhances the presenter experience. The latter a feature appreciated by Kenny Lyon,

“For me personally as a trainer, having the confidence monitor has been absolutely fantastic, delivering training in here all day long with multiple slides would previously involve a lot of checking behind me. Now, with the monitor I don’t have to turn and my presentation flows much more freely.”

The size and wall mounted position of this additional monitor allows for the presenter to freely move on the stage area with a clear view from any location front of house facing the audience.

An additional 7” control panel is situated in the former projection booth at the rear of the theatre and can be operated by the on-site technicians to support more technically complex presentations or events. The integration of an Extron CrossPoint 86 4K matrix provides the team with the ability to display any source content out to any of the displays enabling them to distribute and manage content as required.

The ability to manage presentation content from both the front and from the dedicated control space at the back of the hall was an important part of the system design as Mike Porter explained,

“Part of the design of the lecture hall is that presentation can be managed from two different locations. When we hold large events we now have a dedicated control space where one or two technicians can sit and ensure everything is running smoothly. We have a dedicated touch panel that allows us to have pretty much every option available to us but we’ve also got a wide array of Extron’s configuration programs pre-installed meaning that should there be a special requirement that falls outside the usual scope of the system then we can quickly configure something on the fly”.

The projector previously housed in the control room is now ceiling mounted within the lecture hall. The Epson Laser EB-L1300U selected both for the quality of its High-Definition image reproduction and the ease of maintenance that laser affords. Its location high on the ceiling within the theatre would make access difficult so the next to zero maintenance and remote management afforded by the Epson laser made it an ideal solution. Although the existing 4.5m projection screen is maintained, this is now filled in vibrant Full HD and 8000 lumens of colour. A vast improvement on the aging lamp based projection technology.

The system installed by Pure AV also offers the ability for lecture capture and live streaming and the team at The Health Academy expect the demand for both to continue to grow as they explore new ways to manage mandatory training modules, accommodate high profile guest speakers and support collaboration with other sites and institutions.

The upgrade to the lecture theatre has already generated a lot of positive feedback as Education Centre Manager, Dorcas Walker explained,

“We’ve had really excellent feedback, people really appreciate the effort that’s been taken into designing the space, both the physical improvements and the audiovisual experience. The equipment we have performs better and the controls for the audiovisual system are very easy to use and very user friendly. We now look forward to when we have an event on and we feel confident that we have a high quality product that we can sell, especially to external users, which is good for The Trust."

The positive impact of the new space on the Heath Academy is something that Mike Porter is keen to confirm,

“I’d say the upgrade has had a very beneficial effect on the Health Academy, particularly when people see how modern it looks but at the same time is not intimidating to new users. It offers a great vision for the future and the exploration of new ways to teach. I think it’s opened a lot of people’s eyes to what we can do within our learning spaces to support the Heath Academy’s mission for safe, effective and compassionate care through educational excellence”.

362 Leach Place, Walton Summit, Preston, PR5 8AS

0845 602 2861


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Pure AV Di Gaetano

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