Two out of three deaths among children under age five could be prevented with effective primary healthcare globally. It is a generally recognized fact that regular medical care is essential for early diagnosis and treatment of illness and chronic diseases. And poor health causes developmental delays, affecting learning ability and a child’s ability to reach full intellectual potential. Sick children exact a toll on families, resulting in lost income and an overall compromised quality of life.
Galloping technological change, encouraging economics, new partnerships, and rising consumer acceptance together poise telemedicine for widespread global adoption, according to Cisco and other experts at the 17th American Telemedicine Association meeting this week in San Jose.
“These next couple of years, I think, are critical,” said Dr. Danny Sands, Cisco Director of Medical Informatics. “I think this is the time. This is our time.” Read More »
“What I often feel today is, nurses nurse technology rather than nurse their patients.”
So says Cisco Chief Nursing Officer Curtis Dikes, a registered nurse in his own right, whose job at Cisco is to change that.
At the American Telemedicine Association’s 2012 meeting in San Jose, Dikes was kept fully engaged by attendees newly curious about Cisco technology and the customer-oriented thinking behind it.
“It’s not about the technology,” said Dikes during a break. “Technology is a conduit – part of the equation that enables a better care process.”
Do nurses have unique workflow requirements that warrant special attention? Yes, said Dikes, past president of the American Nursing Informatics Association. “Nursing has its specifics just like medicine.”
“I love the fact that telemedicine fits into this category of people trying to do good things for those that don’t have access. I love that,” said Wozniak to applause.
”It’s kind of cool for a general doctor to get in touch with a couple of specialists this way.”
In a wide-ranging conversation onstage with ATA President Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., Wozniak predicted that computer intelligence will soon rival human intelligence – with profound implications for health care.
“Computers are getting closer to acting like humans. Your phone knows when you’re touching it now… and I think eventually they will be listening and looking with their cameras and microphones… You can make devices that see better than a human.
“Once a computer gets smarter than a human, then the company that uses computers will come out ahead economically.” Read More »
Sharon Gibson, Cisco’s Director of Business Transformation and Healthcare, told how Cisco developed its employee health center, LifeConnections, at a Monday morning ATA panel on “Retail and Employer-Based Healthcare Using Telemedicine.”
Although telemedicine became an aspect of LifeConnections in September 2010, two years after the first LifeConnections center opened in San Jose, it’s become a key part of the proposition. It helps the 80 domestic Cisco campuses feel they’re getting benefits comparable to those delivered at headquarters. Overseas – particularly at the Cisco Bangalore campus, site of our second LifeConnections center, where roads and traffic pose a 24/7 challenge – telemedicine simply enables better patient access to health care.
Throughout the Cisco community, engaging employees is the prime goal for LifeConnections. The initial intent was to use health care to enhance employee productivity among a young workforce not always focused on the subject. Most health care discussions in the US revolve around cost-cutting and efficiency, which often means less access for patients, Cisco took the opposite view with LifeConnections – that more access, and more care opportunities, would lead to positive cost results going forward.
It’s worked – and telemedicine is a key part of the equation. Insights Gibson shared at ATA:
- Screenings, events and provider enthusiasm are key to driving adoption over time.
- Different approaches suit different geographies. In Bangalore Cisco will soon have five satellite offices using telemedicine, all open 24 hours a day, six days a week.
- There’s opportunity to deliver specialty care using telemedicine technology. Working with Stanford University, LifeConnections has just launched our first teledermatology clinic.
More larger organizations are getting into corporate health care with on-site clinics – you need about 1,000 employees to make it a good investment – but Cisco is proud to be blazing trails and and winning high employee satisfaction in the process.
There’s evidence that others see lessons in LifeConnections. A co-panelist of Gibson’s pointed out that US government employees who fall ill on duty overseas are often flown home or to regional health centers at great taxpayer expense and productivity loss. A telemedicine solution could mitigate much of that. “What you’re doing at Cisco, Sharon,” he said, “needs to be shared with the State Department and the Commerce Department.”
It’s good to hear Cisco’s work is influencing others. Cisco, too, feels we have plenty to share about telemedicine.