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Tell the Video Monitor “Ahh”: High Tech Healthcare Serves Patients

With all the frenzied fanfare normally surrounding the debut of new Apple products, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were recently introduced to the masses. And though these new phones were the big news of the day for the technology giant, the Apple Watch is what the healthcare industry has its eyes on.

Released alongside the new iPhones, the Apple Watch is able to sync with apps that track wearers’ basic health and fitness activity trends, including heart rate and travelled distance on a run. More than a timekeeper, Apple’s most robust entry into the “wearables” market meets users at the intersection of technology and health, competing with standalone smart watches, fitness trackers and other multi-functional devices.

While the early reviews on how much the smart watch will revolutionize the industry are still inconclusive, the overall enthusiasm from consumers demonstrates how technology continues to rapidly change the face and future of healthcare – and how ready we are to embrace it. This embrace, of course, comes as no surprise to champions of telehealth and telecare. Technology has been a major influencer on Cisco’s Jordan Healthcare Initiative, demonstrating how technology can bridge gaps in patient care and bring about quality of life that wasn’t conceivable before.

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

March 30, 2014 at 8:37 pm PST

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.

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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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Care at a distance: Connecting the previously unconnected

As more and more provider networks turn to accountable care organizations, a greater emphasis is being placed on telemedicine for care management. At Cisco Live 2013 this week, we’re seeing this trend manifest as the focus of many of our healthcare customers turns to improving patient access to care and transforming the clinician experience.

One such customer is Nemours Children’s Hospital. Today, Bernie Rice, chief of information technology at Nemours demonstrated how physicians and specialists are able to collaborate over distance to examine patients, bringing care regardless of where the patients are located. Through a series of demos, attendees witnessed firsthand the connection of a physician in a hospital directly to a patient at her home, as well as the interaction of physician, nurse and patient all located in three different locations.

The demo illustrated how a remote physician can listen to a heartbeat, receive vitals—blood pressure and temperature— and interact with patients through high definition video. Other capabilities include the ability to view ultrasound images, look into the ear canal and examine magnified images of skin.

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Technology Improves Access to Specialty Healthcare in Jordan

March 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm PST

The journey to the capital city of Amman can be daunting for rural Jordanians who require specialty medical care—people like Haifa Abd-El Karim Omoush.

The 34-year-old married mother of five suffers from a treatable cardiac condition. Her local doctor at Al-Mafraq Governmental Hospital in rural northeast Jordan referred her to a cardiac specialist in Amman to confirm his diagnosis and define a treatment plan.

But Haifa missed or postponed critical appointments with the cardiologist because she had no one to care for her children and could not afford to travel to the hospital. Her condition deteriorated.

Haifa’s experience is common in many parts of the world where specialists are in short supply. But now, technology is helping to close this gap in healthcare access.

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