Cisco in Healthcare? Don’t you just sell switches and routers?” When I talk to clinicians, this is often a question they ask. And we welcome the conversation because it means we can stop talking bits, bytes, speeds and feeds and really dive into how technology is transforming patient care. We can talk about how Webex, voice, video, contact center, wireless and mobility technologies have transformed every clinician’s experience.  We can talk about how Cisco has always invested in healthcare innovation and how we doubled down over the last two years – especially in virtual care – to help our customers get through difficult times. And it starts to make sense that in today’s constantly connected world, healthcare doesn’t happen without Cisco transforming the experience for clinicians and patients alike.

For many years, Cisco innovation has been foundational to the growth of the telehealth industry, and we’re excited to share the next generation of virtual care with Webex Instant Connect. Patients and clinicians can now launch Webex virtual care sessions directly from within EPIC workflows without downloading any software.

The most effective telehealth option for most healthcare providers and patients is a secure, webRTC experience like the one delivered by Cisco’s Webex Instant Connect. When I look at the future, patients won’t be forced to download a new app or create a username and password just to meet with their doctor.  A no-download experience may even be more important for countries that are earlier in the telehealth adoption curve as regulations on virtual care are rapidly evolving across the globe

What’s at stake?

COVID-19 prompted governments worldwide to temporarily relax regulatory enforcement of telehealth application security requirements, allowing healthcare providers to quickly get back to work. While that was necessary in the short-term, it became clear that healthcare systems have too many siloed telehealth options today. And many of them are not integrated, not scalable and not secure. Healthcare system CIOs tell us one of their highest priorities is to establish an enterprise telehealth standard that is integrated into the current workflow AND can scale securely.

For telehealth to be sustainable post-pandemic, it has to better than it is today. Here are five keys for sustainable virtual care adoption globally:

  • Simple to support.  Leverage technology IT knows and that your CISO supports, like Webex.
  • Easy to connect. Almost every browser and smartphone today support an app-less experience via webRTC. Patients are saying no to new app downloads and new passwords.
  • Security built-in. Security can’t be an after thought when delivering telehealth at scale. Webex Instant Connect is highly secure, meetings are anonymous and Cisco does not collect personal health information (PHI) or personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Reliable platform. Clinicians need to be confident it will work every time. And IT needs real-time visibility into connection issues and visit telemetry that will help them minimize frustrations for both providers and patients. Cisco Webex Control Hub delivers connection data critical to maximize uptime.
  • Integrated into existing workflows. Providers and clinicians want a process they know and trust for patient care without jumping through technology hoops. We integrated Cisco Webex with Epic through the Epic App Orchard APIs for an easy experience from start to finish.

What’s next in virtual care?

While no one knows for sure, it is likely that privacy and security requirements by governments and healthcare authorities worldwide will not only return to prior-pandemic regulations but are likely to increase in complexity as the number of virtual visits explode. When you consider the new rule on information blocking, the level of complexity in healthcare infrastructure doubles again. We hear from IT leaders every day that they want to simplify the number of systems they support. That’s why Cisco doubled down on Webex and healthcare innovation. The Epic integration is the first release of many solutions from Cisco.


Troy Yoder

Global Healthcare Leader

Healthcare Industry Solutions Group