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Pandemic Preparedness: Leveraging Cloud based Virtual Care to navigate around the path of the virus

We continue our journey from where we left on part 1 of this series on leveraging Cloud based virtual care in our strategy for pandemic preparedness.

As the news of the pandemic outbreaks occurs, and as patients start seeing flu like symptoms, it’s natural for patients to show up in hospitals and urgent care centers. The care givers that the patients with flu interact are at higher risk of exposure. The US occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) has classified healthcare workplaces to be at very high or high exposure risk for pandemic influenza. For example, a personal that is collecting specimens from pandemic patients is at a very high risk of exposure.


Path of the Virus: Touch points where the healthcare staff is at risk of exposure in a traditional care model

According to CDC guidance, People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away through droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. So proximity and in person interactions must be managed carefully while services are provided.

If we were to track the imaginary path of the flu virus (as a person with flu travels to various places in a hospital), every interaction he has with a staff in person is a potential touch point where he can spread flu. It could be the parking lot, the lobby where he might be passing through healthy visitors, care givers or other patients, the staff at the registration/check-in desk, the nurse or the doctor in the examination room, the staff in the lab, the checkout desk, and list goes on.

Now, let’s look at how virtual care technology driven strategies can help reduce the risk of exposure and at the same time provide essential services to patients. Here are few approaches: Read More »

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Pandemic Preparedness: Is Cloud based Virtual Care in your strategy?

Source: CDC Fluview 2013-2014 Influenza Season Week 11 ending March 15, 2014

Source: CDC Fluview 2013-2014 Influenza Season Week 11 ending March 15, 2014

I was thinking the seasonal flu for the year was almost over, and then last week, I get flu. While looking at the CDS fluview, it continues to report a downward trend in its week 11 reports. Most of the states have almost had turned green, expect for Texas, and I just happened to be lucky in Texas.

When we carefully look at the trends of current seasonal flu based on the Influenza positive tests results reported to CDC, it shows that the last 2 months of 2013 had an upward trend and peaked at the end of the year and the downward trend started in the early weeks of year 2014.

Source: CDC Fluview 2013-2014 Influenza Season Week 11 ending March 15, 2014

Source: CDC Fluview 2013-2014 Influenza Season Week 11 ending March 15, 2014

Now, for a second, let’s think: what happens if the trend didn’t take a downward trend, but kept trending upwards – one of the typical situations that differentiate an epidemic or pandemic with a seasonal flu trend.

Pandemic is an epidemic occurring over a very wide area affecting large number of people. This can happen when new strains emerge for which people have very less resistance and there are no ready made vaccines available and hence the disease spreads while preventive and medical care is developed to overcome the situation.

According to, each flu season, nearly 111 million workdays are lost due to the flu, amounting to approximately $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity. A pandemic could cause not just the financial cost of lost productivity, but also result in wide spread loss of life if not managed well.

While predicting the exact time for the next pandemic is impossible, preparing for one is an absolute must for businesses and communities to ensure the health of employees and citizens. WHO and CDC lead the effort in providing recommendations and checklists for pandemic preparedness.

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Cisco Connected Health Summit at HIMSS14 Highlights Patient Engagement

We hope you were able to join us and several hundred of your peers, for the 7th Annual Connected Health Summit at HIMSS14.  It was a half-day meeting featuring sessions by healthcare thought-leaders who discussed ways to transform the delivery of care through:

  • Cisco Connected Health Summit 2014Continuous patient engagement (pre-, point-of, post-care)
  • Accelerating the movement of clinical data
  • Individualizing the patient experience
  • Entertaining mobile apps
  • Personalizing healthcare for the 21st century

We have had many requests for the presentations so we have included some of the files here for you to view and to share with your colleagues.

A Fresh Look at Patient Engagement
Barbara Casey
Executive Director of Healthcare, Cisco

Barbara discussed her personal perspective on patient engagement, while citing new research illustrating industry trends and directions. 

Connecting Retail Clinics and Pharmacies to the Medical Home 
Dr. Troy Brennan
Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark

Dr. Brennan described an integrated approach to the medical home explaining how CVS Caremark is evolving into a pharmacy innovation company.

Three Experience Pillars of Personal Health
Eric Dishman
Intel Fellow and General Manager of the Health & Life Sciences Group, Intel

Eric discussed his own personal journey through the health system as well as Intel’s journey to enable a “personal health” model of care for the 21st century.

Plan now to join us for the 8th Annual Connected Health Summit next year at HIMSS15! 

Summary: Healthcare in the Cloud and the Benefits of Analyzing Patient Data

The Internet of Everything is altering not only our personal lives, but also business practices across every major industry – healthcare included. From telehealth to increasing caregiver efficiency to data sharing, the IoE enables opportunities for improvement. But with these new connections and advances in healthcare technology, many physicians and healthcare professionals are skeptical of this new wave of advancements.

How do you appease these apprehensions? Hosting in environments that are HIPAA compliant to start. But consider the opportunities to use large data sets of a population for better treatment.

Healthcare in the Cloud

Cloud opens opportunities to utilize the Internet of Things to better treat cities, states, countries and the entire world. Physicians have begun using multiple devices to track patient information because cloud environments and applications can provide omnipresent access to medical records, as well as increase the opportunity for communication among other physicians. For example, when flu season rolls around, data can be gathered and analyzed from previous seasons to better inform the endangered cities of when the flu season will begin.

Dr. Jeffrey Brenner decided to see where rising healthcare costs were actually being spent; his research is discussed in The Human Face of Big Data.  >> READ MORE



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Florida Blue’s Healthy Start to Innovation

Florida Blue will serve as the anchor tenant for a new Lake Nona, Fla.-based healthcare innovation center slated to launch in 2015.

As Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., continues to serve as a model medical city for smarter technologies, it will soon become the location for a new innovation center.

The Lake Nona Innovation Center, slated to launch in 2015, will house multiple tenants who will utilize the facility for innovative projects and research.

Insurance provider Florida Blue will serve as the center’s anchor tenant on the first floor of the multi-story building and refer to its space as the Collaborative Imagination Center. Within Florida Blue’s imagination center, entrepreneurs, and healthcare/ technology thought leaders will have the opportunity to utilize the space’s co-laboratory as a test bed for creating transformative healthcare solutions in addition to other innovative processes like design thinking, prototyping and collaboration.

Florida Blue’s partners will have access to the center’s space in addition to the company’s employees. Beyond the imagination center, the Lake Nona Institute (a Florida Blue partner) will lease space inside the building for its own innovation efforts.

But it’s no surprise that Florida Blue and the Lake Nona Institute will innovate under the same roof since Lake Nona has already pushed the envelope on smarter healthcare. In 2012, Lake Nona became Cisco’s first U.S. Iconic Smart + Connected Community complete with smarter community services and intelligent digital infrastructure. The overarching efforts around the smarter initiatives embrace the idea of the Internet of Everything.

Surely, the combination of the community’s smarter technologies and new innovation center will help Lake Nona continue to thrive.

Watch the Internet of Everything demonstration with Cisco CEO John Chambers and chief demonstration officer Jim Grubb during the Lake Nona Impact Summit in Oct 2012 here.