Years ago I was standing next to the Chief Trauma Surgeon (CTS) in an Emergency Department while the team worked feverishly to resuscitate an injured EMT. The EMT had been struck by a speeding car while at the scene of an accident. In one split second he went from being a first responder to being a patient. My job was to relay information to the Operating Room to make sure the Trauma Suite was prepared appropriately should this patient survive long enough to make it to surgery. The code had been going on for almost an hour and all the efforts of a dozen brilliant and highly trained professionals seemed to have no impact. In fact, things just seemed to be getting worse. Finally the resident came over and asked the CTS if we should ‘call it’. In hospital speak, that means to admit defeat and acknowledge that the patient cannot be resuscitated. It means, literally, to call the time of death. I watched while the weight of the decision spread over the face of the CTS and change his posture as if an actual physical weight had been put on his shoulders. After a few minutes, he turned without a word to walk towards the waiting room to speak to the family. He had only taken a few steps when he turned around and came back. “No, keep going.” The commitment and compassion I saw in his face that day has never left me. He was there for that EMT. The power of truly being there to make a difference hit home.
At Cisco, we are working to make it easier to “be there”. To bring knowledge and expertise right to where it is needed, no matter where you are, no matter who you are. We are using technology to connect not just machines and data bases, but people. Today, we see the powerful forces of social, mobility, the cloud and information coming together. Gartner describes this as the Nexus of Forces. This nexus is disrupting old models and creating new market transitions. Scaling these technologies is making things possible that were not possible before. And Cisco is working to be there, to help you be there.
In Sichuan, China, Cisco built three mobile clinics and provided technology that has enabled 66 healthcare organizations and 32 “smart” hospitals. Four telehealth networks and six regional healthcare “clouds” now link rural villages to full-service hospitals and Department of Health resources across Sichuan. Each month 280,000 patients receive quality care regardless of where they live.
Dr. Patrick Byrne from Greater Baltimore Medical Center volunteers his time and expertise to perform cleft palate repairs as part of Face Forward. Cisco WebEx now makes virtual house calls a reality to provide follow-up post-surgery care and speech therapy. Not only do they now see significant improvement in children’s speech within three months, but they are also able to train Nicaraguan providers on best practices for follow-up procedures and speech therapy tasks. The Greater Baltimore clinical staff now also enjoy better patient relationships with online follow up.
And at the University of Arizona, the Arizona Telemedicine Program has provided access to medical care for state’s rural communities, prison populations, and tribal nations. It is also providing a real-time support network and education awareness for breast cancer. This is all through high quality videoconferencing between remote physicians and patients.
With today’s advances in technology being there now has a new meaning. The ability to marshal the needed resources, expertise and information to heal, to serve, to teach – to make a difference has opened the doors to unlimited possibilities.
So for the teachers, government workers and healthcare providers who make it their mission to always be there, we should offer our thanks for their commitment and dedication to pursuing new possibilities. Their connection to us – whether physical or remote, makes our world a better place.
To learn more about these amazing stories visit us at Cisco Connected Health.