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Who Cares About The Network When Collaborating?

You are probably thinking that the title of this blog seems a little bizarre given that I work at one of the largest networking companies in the world.  The truth is I felt compelled to write about the role of the network in today’s collaboration solutions because the importance of the network is not always apparent and well understood.

A good example of how network-enabled collaboration solutions can be used is that of a hospital or healthcare organization.  The hospital is only as good as its network of services, providers and the accompanying medical infrastructure that support the organization —  they all leverage each other in various different ways.  Physicians can take advantage of mind share and resources and have information at hand from different sources to make the right decisions.  This is what enables doctors and nurses to perform their best work and provide top quality care to the people they serve.

Collaboration technologies and solutions make that collaborative work environment a reality and aid in the diagnosis and care of patients — in some cases even being able to remotely provide medical care by a specialist that may be located half way around the world. The importance of the underlying network in this instance is critical to both physicians and patients alike.  How would the network have any effect on the use of interactive video in telemedicine? Well, let’s think of it from the experience point of view. What would the consequences be for a patient if the video stream they were using in a telemedicine consult was choppy or grainy and the doctor couldn’t get just the right view of the patient to make the right diagnosis?  Let’s just say I would not want to be the patient in this scenario.  A sub-par experience would be unacceptable because even minor details can have an enormous impact on a diagnosis or treatment plan. These collaborative exchanges are what ultimately give the patient the best experience and outcome possible for their individual treatment. A strong network foundation is critical to the delivery of the service and experience in this instance.

Collaboration technologies gaining significant traction in the enterprise today include streaming video, web conferencing and other forms of interactive and dynamic communications — known as rich media.  The reason for the uptick in their use is that they offer the most life like, “in-person” collaboration experiences possible today.  That is what people want and what ultimately drives them to be more engaged with one another.  As described above, the network is critical to the delivery of these types of media.   Not just any network architecture will suffice.  A network-based architecture optimized for rich media such as Cisco (medianet) provides the intelligent services needed in order to scale, optimize and enhance the performance of voice, video and data – all critical to the delivery of the collaboration experience.

What does this mean?  Read More »

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Treating Patients Anywhere, Anytime with Telemedicine


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.

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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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Bringing the Power of Cisco TelePresence to Healthcare with VX Clinical Assistant

At Cisco, we believe telemedicine can improve the quality of healthcare. To demonstrate some of the possibilities of telehealth, Senior Product Manager for Healthcare TelePresence Luke Leininger highlighted at InfoComm our next generation mobile telemedicine cart. The new device delivers high definition video technologies in a portable, user-friendly package.

Watch the video below to learn more about the cart’s simple user interface, which makes for easy connections between patients and their otherwise inaccessible healthcare providers. Read More »

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St. Joseph’s Healthcare Scores with Cisco HealthPresence

99% of patients said they would use telehealth services again.  You can’t get much better than that.  St. Joseph Health System successfully launched a telehealth pilot earlier this year using Cisco HealthPresence™ that allows patients, physicians and other health and wellness specialists in disparate locations to meet and consult virtually via immersive video and audio technologies. The telehealth pilot is part of St. Joseph Health’s Healthiest Communities initiative, which focuses on improving access to health care services and quality of care to the communities it serves.  The results are impressive.

The pilot has now been live for four months supporting Urgent Care, Specialty Care, Chronic Disease Management, and Wellness and Health Improvement.  Care has been provided to about 250 patients.  In addition 99% of patients said they would use telehealth services again.  95% of patients seen were “completely satisfied” with their telehealth experience.  The telehealth program is providing access to healthcare in areas where it previously was not accessible.

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