SOURCE: Polycom, Inc.

Polycom, Inc.

April 27, 2009 08:33 ET

State of Michigan Improves Efficiency and Saves Money With Polycom Telepresence

Michigan's Corrections and State Police Departments Use Polycom Video Communications to Efficiently Deliver Services Across the State

LANSING, MI and PLEASANTON, CA and LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwire - April 27, 2009) - American Telemedicine Association 14th Annual Meeting & Exposition -- As state governments face the toughest economy in decades, Michigan is saving hundreds of thousands of dollars, improving worker productivity and bolstering public safety with high definition (HD) telepresence solutions from Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM), the global leader in telepresence, video and voice communication solutions.

Like all states, Michigan has sought ways to reduce costs without sacrificing the services -- not to mention the safety -- it provides to citizens. The Michigan Department of Corrections and the Michigan Department of State Police have found the answer in HD visual communication, which allows them to cost effectively serve facilities scattered across 58,110 square miles to the most remote corners of the Upper Peninsula.

Department of Corrections Partners with Polycom to Control Costs

The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) links its broad network of 48 correctional facilities via an expanding network of Polycom visual communication infrastructure. With 85 video conferencing locations, MDOC keeps costs in check by providing a range of services including telemedicine, parole hearings, judicial hearings and administrative hearings.

MDOC has deployed 144 Polycom systems ranging from desktop video conferencing software for PCs to Polycom HDX 8000™ room telepresence solutions. Polycom systems equip staff at every MDOC facility, no matter how remote. The agency's telemedicine program enables physicians in Detroit, Lansing and Jackson to evaluate patients, provide follow-up care, and prescribe treatment and medications to prisoners located at any MDOC facility.

In 2007, MDOC conducted more than 1,000 telemedicine visits, producing an estimated savings of $125,000 in transportation costs alone. "The savings we're seeing -- both in money and in time -- would be impossible to achieve without video conferencing," said Lynette J. Holloway, video conferencing coordinator for MDOC's Bureau of Fiscal Management.

The telemedicine program also reduces transports of potentially unstable and violent "Level 5" prisoners to local health care facilities -- a move that Holloway said helps keep communities safe: "A Level 5 prisoner is the last person you want to put in a car and drive to another location."

In addition, MDOC's use of Polycom video conferencing systems has transformed Michigan's parole hearings process by virtually eliminating travel time for parole board members. With 13,000 video interviews conducted in 2007, the program has been a smashing success. "It once took two weeks for parole board members to arrive at a decision," said Holloway, "and now it takes two days."

Forensic Scientists Increase Efficiency with Video Testimonies

Scientists at the Michigan State Police (MSP) Forensic Science Division analyze evidence for all Michigan law enforcement agencies. In addition to DNA, firearms, explosives, fingerprints and other evidence, toxicologists at MSP's Lansing Laboratory analyze and process some 15,000 alcohol and 5,000 drug cases annually.

Nearly 1,000 times a year, MSP forensic scientists deliver expert testimony at criminal trials around the state. "We receive between 75 and 100 blood alcohol cases a day," said Inspector Greg Michaud, assistant division commander for MSP's Forensic Science Division. Although testimonies usually last just 15 minutes, traveling to and from the courts can keep an analyst "away from the bench" for up to three days. That has contributed to a growing case backload, while budget cuts have left the department with less money for travel and overtime.

Looking to increase efficiency in the Toxicology Unit, MSP administrators considered a new idea: delivering testimonies remotely over video. In the first program of its kind, MSP launched a video testimony program last year. Today, the HD videoconferencing network includes Polycom HDX 4000™ personal telepresence solutions, Polycom HDX 7000™ room telepresence solutions, and multiple Polycom VSX® 3000 personal video conferencing systems.

The HD telepresence solutions equip not only the Lansing laboratory, but all seven of the Forensic Science Division's labs throughout the state, and are available for testimonies and remote consultation with other labs. In the program's first six months, MSP forensics experts delivered 25 testimonies via video, saving hundreds of hours of analyst bench time, not to mention travel costs.

Launching the groundbreaking, award-winning program meant working with legislators to change Michigan Court rules and secure buy-in from prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys. "I'm seeing great value in it," said Mark Esqueda, chief assistant prosecutor for Delta County, which has prosecuted more than a dozen cases using remote expert testimonies. "It's efficient, and it works so well."

Esqueda said the quality of the Polycom UltimateHD™ video and audio technology makes all the difference. "It's almost as if the person is there live," he said. "I've spoken with jurors after trials and they didn't have a problem that the witness wasn't physically there in the room."

About Polycom

Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM) is the global leader in telepresence, video, and voice solutions and a visionary in communications that empower people to connect and collaborate everywhere. Please visit for more information.

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