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Tune In, Turn On And Meet Your Doctor

This blog was originally posted on the Huffington Post

We are now witnessing children’s health care expanding across the nation with advancements in video-based networking and collaborative technologies. A virtual visit by a renowned pediatric specialist at your local clinic is now becoming a reality in a growing number of communities.

As one in five children in the U.S. seek specialist medical care this year, ready availability of pediatric sub-specialists is critical for our children’s health and healthy communities. These specialists are in short supply, however, and tend to be clustered in the major metropolitan cities. Wait times for initial appointments can range from three to nine months. According to Time Magazine, 15 million children live in rural enclaves where the ratio of pediatricians and family physicians is 22 for every 100,000 kids. That’s a patient load of more than 4,500 children per doctor. Outside the U.S., those numbers drastically increase.

Today, telehealth pilot programs with a video interface from a medical specialty facility to a local clinic are vastly improving access to pediatric specialty care. With no travel to the big city to see a specialist and no associated travel costs, families reduce time lost at work and school to receive care for their children.

In Jordan, Cisco “care-at-a-distance” technologies connect patients at two rural hospitals to specialists in Amman, the capital. Traveling to Amman is expensive or prohibitive for many people, but now they can get the specialty care they need through remote consultations.

In Jordan, Cisco “care-at-a-distance” technologies connect patients at two rural hospitals to specialists in Amman, the capital. Traveling to Amman is expensive or prohibitive for many people, but now they can get the specialty care they need through remote consultations.

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3 Ways The Internet of Everything Is Improving Our World

This blog was originally posted on Huffington Post.

Every day, we’re bombarded with seemingly unsolvable issues — health care crises, struggling schools, poverty, and climate change are just a few. These issues may at first seem too big for any of us to solve. But in today’s technology-driven world, we actually have more power than ever.

The growth and convergence of people, process, data, and things on the Internet — the Internet of Everything — is making networked connections more valuable than ever before, creating unprecedented opportunities to bring about social good.

How? Let me give you three examples.

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Tackling Children’s Health Problems with Technology and Collaboration

Children’s health care is a growing concern on a domestic and global scale among parents, specialists, and policymakers. Treating this special population, particularly among those living in rural communities, ignites continual challenges including insurance concerns, limited transportation, and the low number and availability of pediatric specialists. In addition, child mortality remains a global concern. According to a recent study by The Lancet, only 15 countries are projected to meet targets to reduce child deaths by 2035. Working to overcome these challenges can help ensure that every child reaches his or her full potential.

Through ongoing work with health care organizations around the world, Cisco recognized that its collaborative telehealth and video technology solutions could help curb the strain on resources within the children’s population by encouraging “virtual” care delivery— a trend becoming more prevalent as doctors and providers recognize its significance. Across the world, the company has a series of programs to help children get the best medical care possible. These programs fall under the recently launched Connected Healthy Children initiative, a new program designed to promote a future of happier families, stronger communities, and healthier kids around the world.

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6 of 9 HIPAA Network Considerations

The HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule, released January 2013, goes into effect this month – Sept 23, 2013. Over the last several weeks, I’ve been posting a blog series around nine HIPAA network considerations.

  1. HIPAA Audits will continue
  2. The HIPAA Audit Protocol and NIST 800-66 are your best preparation
  3. Knowledge is a powerful weapon―know where your PHI is
  4. Ignorance is not bliss
  5. Risk Assessment drives your baseline
  6. Risk Management is continuous
  7. Security best practices are essential
  8. Breach discovery times: know your discovery tolerance
  9. Your business associate(s)must be tracked

This blog focuses on #6 – Risk Management is Continuous.

You can look at the Risk Management implementation specification as the actions taken in response to the Risk Assessment.  The HIPAA Security Rule defines Risk management (Required):  “Implement security measures sufficient to reduce risks and vulnerabilities to a reasonable and appropriate level to comply with [§ 164.306(a)]”

(1) Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all electronic protected health information the covered entity creates, receives, maintains, or transmits.

(2) Protect against any reasonably anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information.

(3) Protect against any reasonably anticipated uses or disclosures of such information

One common mistake companies make in compliance programs is taking the approach that once the work is done, the network doesn’t have to be looked at again for compliance.  If they put the security programs, processes, and technologies in place, they don’t have to spend time on compliance until next year (or the year after that, or even longer).

This makes compliance a onetime effort that is then ignored.  Worse, securing PHI often follows the same path, making it easy to hack and steal, causing a lot of problems for everyone involved.  Risk management―reducing risk―needs to be a continuous activity.   Through your risk assessment, you’ll know where your PHI is, what your highest risk factors are, and where to implement more continuous risk management tools in the network.

Continuous risk management does not mean tracking every single event on every single device throughout the network.  It may mean turning on automatic alerts on critical devices, setting traffic thresholds in network areas where PHI resides, logging anomalous events in those critical areas, and using network management tools to make sense of all this information the network devices are collecting.

Risk management is about a lot more than achieving HIPAA compliance, reducing risk to PHI and helping to prevent theft of PHI is of critical value.

Recommendation: Understand where you should implement continuous risk management, and what logging, alert, detection, and management tools you already have that can help with risk management.

To learn more about Cisco® compliance solutions and HIPAA services, please visit http://www.cisco.com/go/compliance

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New Solution: Cisco Virtual Patient Observation

No longer does your organization need to incur the sometimes unreimbursed cost of hiring one-on-one patient sitters, dedicating staff that can be better utilized elsewhere, or imposing on distressed family members to sit by their family member’s bedside around the clock.

With Cisco Virtual Patient Observation, centralized staff can observe multiple high-risk patients over your hospital’s existing network, and quickly alert caregivers if a patient is at risk.

This is one of those rare solutions that can pay for itself in months not years.

SpeakersIf this sounds “too good to be true”, then we invite you to join a live educational webcast that I’m hosting on September 12th at 11PST / 2EST to learn first-hand how HCA’s Clear Lake Regional Medical Center worked with Cisco to integrate Virtual Patient Observation into their operation.

You’ll learn about Clear Lake Regional Medical Center’s approach to implementing Cisco Virtual Patient Observation, the hurdles they encountered, and the lessons they learned along the way to a highly successful implementation and a satisfying ROI.

We’ll hold a live Q&A at the end so you can ask your questions directly of the experts.

Register now to hold your spot.  If you can’t make the live webcast on September 12, you’ll want to register anyway so that we can send you the replay link.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Cisco Virtual Patient Observation, here’s how to get started:

  • At-a-Glance: Benefits of Virtual Patient Observation
  • Blueprint:  Take advantage of existing networking investments for rapid investment payback
  • Ten use cases: Real-life scenarios for using video surveillance in hospitals
  • Request a call from Cisco:  Discuss how video surveillance can help you lower costs and improve patient safety

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