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Cisco LifeConnections Health Center in ATA Spotlight

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.

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Healthcare Industry in Transition

April 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm PST

2012 a “Pivotal Year” for Healthcare Transformation, Says Shehata in ATA Preview.

This is the year Cisco healthcare technology moves from creating simple collaboration environments to true innovation workspaces that generate value, particularly for accountable care organizations (ACOs) focused on quality and efficiency, said Cisco’s Ash Shehata in an online briefing to industry thought leaders.
Shehata, Cisco’s Senior Executive Director, Healthcare Business Transformation for the US, Canada, and Latin America, addressed invited bloggers and web journalists in advance of the American Telemedicine Association conference April 29 in San Jose.
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Telehealth In Action: Remote Care for Veterans

February 20, 2012 at 5:11 am PST

The victim of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, Joseph “Jay” Briseno Jr. came home from his 2003 tour of duty in Iraq to an entirely different life—one that requires extensive ongoing care.

To make necessary healthcare services more accessible to Jay, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C. (DCVAMC) worked with Cisco TelePresence to tailor a telehealth solution specifically to Jay’s needs. Jay can communicate with his doctors through the telehealth device installed in his family home, 30 miles away from the hospital, and avoid the ambulance ride he would otherwise have to take every time he had an appointment.

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As Hospitals Accommodate Technological Expansion, Could Telepresence Do More?

January 19, 2012 at 10:22 am PST

As hospitals and health systems continuously adapt to the changing healthcare needs and practices of the 21st century, technology takes on an ever-expanding role. According to the Hospital Providers on the Move report, completed by SK&A healthcare marketing company, audio visual and media systems accounted for one of the fastest expanding employment areas between March 2010 and March 2011 at healthcare establishments across the country.

We’ve seen how audio and visual media, especially telepresence, have helped patients access difficult-to-reach doctors for illnesses ranging from Parkinson’s disease to psychiatric disorders. Perhaps the hiring increase for Directors of Audio Visual/Media Services indicates that even more hospitals have found technology like telepresence can enhance patient care. Read More »

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USDA Grants Help Rural Communities Connect

January 12, 2012 at 7:37 am PST

A recent study from the U.K. Department of Health finds that using remote monitoring technology to keep tabs on patients’ blood sugar and cardiopulmonary disease can reduce the risk of patient mortality by up to 45 percent. With statistics like this, hospitals and medical clinics can’t afford not to embrace telehealth technologies. Not to mention, telehealth is quickly becoming a competitive differentiator in some markets around the U.S. According to Mark Probst, CIO for Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, “I don’t see how the hospital CEO can ignore telemedicine.”

While tech-savvy patients in urban areas will likely begin to demand more user-friendly access to healthcare, therefore driving the adoption of telehealth in metropolitan-area hospitals, the technology is more than just a convenience for residents in rural areas; it can be the difference between life and death. Read More »

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