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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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A Consumer View of Healthcare Reforms and IoE driven Healthcare IT Innovations

April 20, 2014 at 9:09 pm PST

In the past, they were called ‘Patients’, today their mindset and their behavior patterns have changed; they are called ‘Consumers’ of healthcare. They just don’t look at healthcare to consume the services when they are sick, but see it as a means to help them maintain their wellness and remain healthy. They want to be in the driver’s seat, and they want to be empowered and be part of the care decisions.

The Health Care Reforms and Health Care Internet of Everything (IoE) have accelerated the adoption of ‘consumer like’ behavior. From its focus on increased access to care and information, prevention and wellness, the meaningful use criteria calls for specific metrics such as the need for at least 5% of patients to send secure messages to providers. These have accelerated the use of patient portals and mobile apps and wellness devices. According to a report by Research and Markets, the mobile health market is expected to reach $26 billion in revenue by 2017.

Earlier this week, I was presenting at a security conference, the SecConX conference 2014 on the subject ‘At the Security Crossroads of Health Care Reforms and IoE enabled e-health’. I started off the presentation with a slide with three questions to gauge the audience’s adoption of consumer grade fitness devices, patient portal and mobile apps.

Guaging Consumer Adoption of Fitness devices, Patient portals and Mobile Apps

Gauging Consumer Adoption of Fitness devices, Patient portals and Mobile Apps

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Collaboration Without Borders: Saving Money, Helping Patients

The next wave of the Internet is driving the most disruptive change in history. Powered by mobile devices and apps—collaboration technologies that seamlessly allow people to work across multiple video and mobile devices—people are using technology to share ideas and opinions, and to reach the people and resources they need at any given moment. For the young Millennials who have grown up with the Internet, life flows seamlessly between the physical and virtual worlds. For professionals and executives, the Rolodex file of old has transformed into an online network for real-time, multi-person, topic-focused collaboration, not just as individuals but also in their enterprises.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is accelerating this trend, creating real business value through the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. Earlier this year, Cisco® research identified $14.4 trillion in Value at Stake for the private sector that will be created or migrated among companies in the IoE economy over the next decade. Collaboration, video, and mobility will contribute 55 percent of this value—or $7.9 trillion in private sector Value at Stake by 2022.

Large global organizations are using collaboration, video, and mobility technologies to reach across time zones and organizational borders to spur innovation, solve complex problems, accelerate business processes, and reduce travel costs. These companies are investing in collaboration solutions because they can see direct benefits to their business—both in growing their top-line revenues and reducing costs to improve profitability.

In a recent survey by Forbes, more than 90 percent of respondents at companies that lead in collaboration technology adoption said that pervasive and extensive collaboration generates profound or disruptive innovation and enables efficient business processes. More than three-quarters of respondents agreed that collaboration accelerates business results and creates a competitive advantage.

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The Internet of Everything: Where Technology and Innovation Meet To Make the World a Better Place

What will the future be like? As depicted in today’s popular movies and books, the future is either one of bright promise—where the world’s greatest problems have been solved by technology and greater human enlightenment—or it’s a dystopian world where today’s problems have only gotten worse, technology has gone bad, and the very survival of humanity is at risk.

As Cisco’s chief futurist, it’s my job to think about what the world will look like in a few years, and how our actions today will impact that future. And while I’m not ready to put on my rose-colored glasses just yet, I do have an optimistic view of what the future may bring, enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE). Within 10 years, there will be 50 billion connected things in the world, with trillions of connections among them. These connections will change the world for the better in ways we can’t even imagine today. But here are just a few things I can imagine:

Better supply of food: Sensors all along the food supply chain, together with Big Data analytics and the intelligence of the cloud, will help us optimize the delivery of food from “farm to fork.” Sensors in the field will be combined with weather forecasts and other data to trigger irrigation and harvest times for each crop. And sensors on the food itself will alert merchants and consumers about when the “sell by” and “use by” dates are approaching to prevent spoilage. All of this will significantly reduce food waste—which today amounts to about one-third of total world food production.

Better supply of water: Similarly, about 30 percent of our water supply is lost due to leaks and waste. Just one faucet or leaky pipe dripping three times a minute will waste more than 100 gallons of water a year. “Smart” pipes can reduce this waste significantly by sensing and pinpointing the location of leaks that would otherwise go undetected for months or years.

Better access to education: Affordable access to education is one of the most important ways to lift people out of poverty. Soon, time and distance will no longer limit access to an engaging, affordable, high-quality education. With connection speeds going up, and equipment costs going down, distance learning is going beyond traditional online classes to create widely accessible immersive, interactive, real-time learning experiences.

Better access to healthcare: Urbanization and population growth are putting a strain on healthcare resources—especially in rural areas. After the devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, Cisco was a strategic partner in creating a networked medical delivery system, including four telehealth networks that allow doctors to meet with and examine patients remotely. But those capabilities are just the beginning of what IoE will make possible. Soon, women with high-risk pregnancies will be able to wear a tiny, always-on fetal monitoring electronic “tattoo,” which will communicate to the cloud whenever the woman is within range of a wireless network. The analytics capabilities in the cloud will alert doctors at the first sign of trouble, and even tell the mother-to-be when she needs to drink more water, or get more rest.

While sensors and machine-to-machine communication are important parts of these solutions, it’s not just the “Internet of Things” that is making all of this possible—it’s the Internet of Everything—the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. And Big Data analytics is what brings the intelligence to all of these connections, enabling new kinds of processes, and helping us make smarter decisions.

I’ve highlighted just four areas where IoE will change the world for the better. But there is not a single part of life that will not be impacted in some way—whether that means improving your drive to work, speeding you through the checkout line at the grocery store, saving energy through smart lighting, or minimizing your wait at a traffic light. The Internet of Everything is not a silver bullet that can solve all the world’s woes, but with the spark of human innovation, IoE can be the engine for a better future.

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Breaking Down Barriers to Children’s Healthcare in Brazil

November 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm PST

sergipe_mapThis week, Cisco launched its newest CSR program – Connected Healthy Children – Brazil.

Much of the Brazilian population lives far away from major cities, so distance can pose a real barrier for children who need specialized medical care. For example, 41 percent of all infants under age 1 and 90 percent of newborns with congenital heart disease are in remote areas.

Connected Healthy Children – Brazil is intended to help reduce the disparity of access to specialized care between urban and rural areas. In the northeastern state of Sergipe, Cisco is partnering with the state’s only University Hospital in Aracaju to support remote consultations for patients and families, and also improve education, training, and decision-making for care teams.

Advanced telepresence and collaboration systems and cloud technology will connect Family Health Clinics in Tobias Barreto and Lagarto with pediatric specialists at the Federal Medical University campus in Lagarto and the University Hospital in Aracaju. A team enabled with mobile technology will provide specialist access to even more remote areas.

The launch event on November 4, 2013 at the Federal University of Sergipe was attended by approximately 150 people in person and remotely via Cisco TelePresence video conferencing solution – one of the technologies being deployed for Connected Healthy Children -- Brazil.

We will report more on the impact we are having on children’s healthcare in Brazil in the coming months. Please follow Cisco CSR on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ to stay informed!

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