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Moving Patient Care Forward

When entering a hospital today, you’ll find a familiar and reassuring sight: hospital staff dedicated to physically monitoring and comforting patients who are confused or agitated, at risk for falls, wandering, and so on. While absolutely necessary, having a patient under constant monitoring by hospital employees, or nonhospital “patient sitters,” can lead to skyrocketing costs. At times, hospitals are not reimbursed for these expenses, meaning patient’s families are asked to provide sitters at their own expense -- imposing a burden for working family members.

With this in mind, we asked a question: How can patient observation costs be reduced while still providing the necessary care and attention patients need?

Enter: Virtual Assistance

Using HD video and two-way communication, healthcare organizations can dramatically drop the cost of patient observation. With virtual observation, trained staff in a central location can monitor multiple patients, notifying hospital staff onsite just as quickly as if they were physically there. To sweeten the deal, a virtual deployment runs over the hospital’s existing network without high-cost infrastructure installations or updates.

Virtual Patient Observation

Virtual Patient Observation

Providing Personal Attention

Park Nicollet Health Services, a nonprofit, integrated healthcare system located in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, deployed Cisco’s virtual patient observation solutions to solve several challenges they faced:

  • Continuous observation of patients deemed at-risk in the hospital’s fall reduction program
  • Management of staff for 1:1 observation of priority and less severe monitoring cases
  • Coverage of multiple rooms with limited nursing staff, maximizing quality of care

With Cisco IP Cameras and Cisco Video Surveillance Manager, Park Nicollet has deployed video patient bedspace monitoring over their existing network, adding a “second set of eyes” to their team. The deployment has increased bedside care time for Registered Nurses and enhanced the environment for care, which has been reflected in Patient Care Scores.

Watch below as Eric Paine from Park Nicollet discusses the deployment during one of our recent roundtables:

Used as part of the hospital workflow, the Cisco Virtual Patient Observation solution can also:

  • Reduce risk and exposure for patients and operations
  • Improve communications between clinicians and staff providing specialized patient monitoring
  • Enhance bedside response by providing the caregiver with more information

Learn more about how Cisco is moving healthcare forward and be sure to watch this webinar on Healthcare Security Force Management Best Practices.

 

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Treating Patients Anywhere, Anytime with Telemedicine

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By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Modern medicine has brought some amazing technological advances. But at the end of the day, the most powerful medical tool remains the old-fashioned one: expert clinicians with the knowledge to evaluate, monitor and care for patients.

The problem: how do you get medical expertise to all of the places it’s needed? One growing answer: Telemedicine.

Read More »

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The Service Provider Cure: Healing an Ailing Healthcare System

By Tine Christensen, Director of US Service Provider Practice, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)

America’s healthcare system has been laid low with a scourge of acute symptoms. Spiraling costs, an epidemic of chronic diseases, and a spike in the senior demographic are all driving a mounting crisis. Throw in a gridlocked U.S. Congress and an unresolved regulatory climate, and a “miracle” cure seems a remote dream.

Lately, however, a healing light has been shining from a surprising source: service providers.

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VA Rolls Out Tablets, Enables Telepresence On-the-Go

November 30, 2011 at 9:13 am PST

To ensure its facilities stay on the cutting edge of healthcare and technology, the federal government plans to purchase 100,000 tablet computing devices for its Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, according to Nextgov.

It’s a move that makes a lot of sense, as Fierce Mobile Healthcare notes in a recent story. Tablets represent the most current technology available, and their presence in a hospital lures medical students to fight for positions, as they perceive the technology as top-of-the-line, according to the article. The devices save hospitals money by preserving funds that would otherwise go towards more expensive PCs or laptops, and they save physicians time by streamlining documentation and administrative procedures, the article said.

There’s one more crucial thing a tablet brings with it to the hospital: telepresence. With telepresence at their fingertips, doctors can remotely follow-up on their patients, yet still see their patients “in person.” They can provide care to chronically ill patients living far from the hospital, review x-rays clearly and precisely, and access continuing education resources.

We’ve had the fortune of seeing the tablet in action at a healthcare facility. Palomar Pomerado Health in Southern California uses Cisco’s Cius tablet to enable physicians to access full patient histories anytime, anywhere. This access speeds the reporting of test results and the delivery of prescriptions and medications. Doctors also use the Cius to support Cisco TelePresence.

While there are security and other mobile device management issues to consider, both Apple- and Android- based applications are beginning to take these barriers into account and fine-tune security on their devices, according to Nextgov. The Cius, for example, built from the ground up with security in mind, has security functions in place at all levels, from the hardware to the network access and from enterprise access to mobile security.

With anytime access to telepresence, patient records, administrative tools, and more, the VA stands to greatly enhance its patient care as it evolves its technology to the tablet. Knowing confidential information remains secure with tablet technology, could your agency or office benefit from having telepresence and expanded network access on the go?

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