At a DC press conference, Cisco and UnitedHealth announced Connected Care, a joint effort to create a national telemedicine network aimed, at least at first, at serving rural, difficult to access, and underserved patient populations. The technology, consisting mostly of a secure and high quality video/audio link between a telemedicine center and a doctor’s office, would likely be supplemented by on-site nurses and equipment that would provide doctors visual and auditory information about basic vital signs, allowing them to listen to heartbeats, lung sounds, etc., all miles away from the patient. The network itself will be open, and Cisco is hoping to create an environment where third party technologies can integrate into the remote clinic and provide doctors and patients with a better experience. The companies just finished a pilot with a bunch of Cisco employees, who reportedly had a positive experience. Six Connected Care programs are currently in development to beta test the concept.
All you men out there better get ready to turn your head, cough, and hold a video camera to your groin.
From the Cisco press release:
Cisco HealthPresence will be one of the principal technologies enabling Connected Care, using video, audio and medical information to create an experience remarkably similar to an in-person visit with a doctor.
To mark the announcement, the companies unveiled today on Capitol Hill the UnitedHealth Group Connected Care mobile clinic – an 18-wheel clinic showcasing the technology and connectivity available through the network.
"In developing advanced telemedicine technologies, we’re unlocking new possibilities for how patients can interact with doctors and medical staff. The in-person visit with a doctor is no longer the sole ‘gold standard’ method for delivering high-quality health care services," said Dr. Kaveh Safavi, vice president Global Healthcare Practice, Cisco Systems, Inc. "Instead, we’ve now introduced a new care at-a-distance health care delivery model that better connects people, information and processes into one continuum of care. This new technology-enabled delivery model will improve productivity and efficiency in health care while at the same time minimizing costs for access to quality care services."