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The Impact of Telehealth Technology and Social Innovation in Healthcare

Everyday we’re bombarded with seemingly unsolvable issues: healthcare crises in developing nations, struggling education systems, natural disasters that displace thousands or even millions of people. Delivered via 24-hour cable news, our Google newsfeed, or smart phone news apps, it’s easy to feel like the issues are too big, and you are too small to make a meaningful impact.

After attending the 2012 Social Innovation Summit this week, it was abundantly clear that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Social Innovation Summit brings together top executives and thought leaders from around the globe to discuss opportunities for leveraging technology & innovation to affect social change.

A common theme throughout the summit was the power we all have to make a difference by pushing the limits of innovation to solve the critical problems that are affecting our communities today.

From combating global poverty and enabling at risk youth, to championing the innovations of student developers of mobile apps and digital stethoscopes, thought leaders from around the globe gathered to discuss, listen and learn about phenomenal social innovation initiatives that are transforming the norm around the world.

Dr. William Kennedy a board-certified pediatric urologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital shared his views on Healthcare in the Digital age and how he is using Cisco TelePresence technology to help families reduce the cost and stress of seeking specialized pediatric care and allow doctors to conduct virtual consultations with out-of-area patients.

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The Changing Landscape of Healthcare in the Digital Age

Dr. William A. Kennedy knows how having a sick child can burden a family. In the 1970s, his brother suffered from metastatic Ewing’s sarcoma. Getting him the care he needed at a hospital 25 miles away was a full-time job for their mother and required help from other relatives and friends.

Today, Dr. Kennedy, a board-certified pediatric urologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, is using Cisco technology to provide specialty “care-at-a-distance.” The result: children and families don’t need to leave their communities and miss significant time from school and work to receive world-class specialty care.

Dr. Kennedy with a patient. Photo courtesy Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

In a blog post today on the Huffington Post, Dr. Kennedy writes that he has been able to reduce wait times for patients by running weekly “telehealth” clinics between Packard Children’s in Palo Alto and Pediatric Group of Monterey, nearly 100 miles to the south. Cisco technology “yields a high-quality clinical interaction that rivals the traditional in-person doctor visit,” Dr. Kennedy writes.

Please read Dr. Kennedy’s full post on the Huffington Post.

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Social Innovation Summit: Where Business Innovation Meets Social Transformation

The Social Innovation Summit takes place this week on December 4 and 5 in Mountain View, California. This annual gathering brings together corporate, investment, government, and nonprofit leaders to explore the strategies and business innovations that are generating social transformation.

At Cisco, we apply the same technology, expertise, and partnerships we use to help our customers to also help transform lives, communities, and the planet. Through the collective power of human and technology networks, we believe we can multiply our impact on some of the world’s most pressing problems — while strengthening our business.

This “shared value” approach is reflected in the Social Innovation Summit, where other corporations, nonprofits, investors, and government agencies will describe how business innovations and creativity are enabling social transformation.

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Can a Tablet Help You Get Well?

A few years ago, that question might have sparked a discussion around the efficacy of pharmaceutical drugs. Today however, references to tablets have fostered a whole new context especially in regards to healthcare. Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are indeed transforming healthcare as we know it and in a manner of speaking, they do have the means to impact health and wellness. How you may ask? Think about the latest statistics around the explosive adoption of mobile devices in healthcare. A recent study conducted by Manhattan Research estimated that the use of tablet devices by U.S physicians have nearly doubled in the past year alone and are expected to continue to rise at a meteoric pace. These devices are being used in both the personal and professional lives of healthcare providers for everything from accessing emails to electronic medical records, clinical research and collaboration with peers and industry experts. Tablets have become the new well of information – the new virtual water cooler if you will.

At Cisco we recognize that technology is enabling critical innovations in healthcare and with the convenience and flexibility of all the mobile devices at our finger tips – what better way to keep abreast of what’s new and next in healthcare than from your own tablet or smartphone device?

With that in mind, Cisco is excited to introduce a brand new digital magazine for the healthcare community, entitled “Well”.  Well is an interactive publication that will offer in-depth coverage of technological improvements and industry breakthroughs that truly impact the delivery of healthcare.

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Connected Health – It’s About Being There

Years ago I was standing next to the Chief Trauma Surgeon (CTS) in an Emergency Department while the team worked feverishly to resuscitate an injured EMT.  The EMT had been struck by a speeding car while at the scene of an accident. In one split second he went from being a first responder to being a patient.  My job was to relay information to the Operating Room to make sure the Trauma Suite was prepared appropriately should this patient survive long enough to make it to surgery.  The code had been going on for almost an hour and all the efforts of a dozen brilliant and highly trained professionals seemed to have no impact.  In fact, things just seemed to be getting worse.  Finally the resident came over and asked the CTS if we should ‘call it’.  In hospital speak, that means to admit defeat and acknowledge that the patient cannot be resuscitated.  It means, literally, to call the time of death.  I watched while the weight of the decision spread over the face of the CTS and change his posture as if an actual physical weight had been put on his shoulders.   After a few minutes, he turned without a word to walk towards the waiting room to speak to the family.  He had only taken a few steps when he turned around and came back.  “No, keep going.”  The commitment and compassion I saw in his face that day has never left me.  He was there for that EMT.  The power of truly being there to make a difference hit home.

At Cisco, we are working to make it easier to “be there”.  To bring knowledge and expertise right to where it is needed, no matter where you are, no matter who you are.  We are using technology to connect not just machines and data bases, but people.  Today, we see the powerful forces of social, mobility, the cloud and information coming together.  Gartner describes this as the Nexus of Forces. This nexus is disrupting old models and creating new market transitions. Scaling these technologies is making things possible that were not possible before.  And Cisco is working to be there, to help you be there.

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