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Cisco Unveils Telemedicine Pilot Program To Expand Medicine Delivery

Cisco announced what it calls a ground-breaking telemedicine pilot program initiative with Molina Healthcare, two community health centers in San Diego and the state of California to provide health and wellness services to underserved communities throughout the state.

More than 15 sites will be equipped to deliver telemedicine primary and specialty care services, using Cisco HealthPresence, a care-at-a-distance technology solution that combines state-of-the-art video, audio and medical information to create a patient care experience similar to the common medical encounter when patients visit their healthcare providers.

The availability of a care-at-a-distance network will give patients easier access to doctors and specialists that equals or exceeds an in-person medical visit, Cisco said.

As part of this program, Cisco is contributing $10 million of product, services and support.

The pilot program complements the California Telehealth Network, a statewide coalition of healthcare, technology, government, and other stakeholders, to use and build on the state’s recent investments in telehealth.

The participating organizations – Molina Healthcare, Mountain Health and Community Services, and La Maestra Community Health Centers – will use Cisco HealthPresence to deliver primary and specialty care services. The University of California at Davis is currently working to join as well.

The Association of American Medical Colleges has estimated that due to population growth, aging and other factors the country is facing a potential shortage of 159,000 primary care physicians by 2025. Telemedicine technologies help scarce healthcare professionals reach the widest patient population most efficiently.

HealthPresence includes integrated state-of-the-art medical diagnostic equipment to provide healthcare professionals with evaluative capabilities and it allows both doctors and patients to participate and immerse themselves more than in-person visits or telemedicine initiatives of the past.

Through the use of high-definition cameras and electronic scopes, patients will also be able to see and listen to the medical examination in the same way as the clinician, allowing for more informed interactions with physicians.

HealthPresence also enables multiple members of a patient’s care team – primary care provider, specialist physicians, care manager, family members and others – to meet in real-time, regardless of location or distance. This supports better care collaboration and patient management.

Although HealthPresence has been piloted for two years in clinical settings, Cisco said this initiative serves as a proof-of-concept for it and its partners to demonstrate the value of a scalable, cost-efficient telemedicine network between the medical workforce and scarce clinical expertise.

Addresses: Molina Healthcare, 1 Golden Shore, Long Beach, CA 90802; (562) 435-3666, www.molinahealthcare.com. Cisco Systems Inc., 170 West Tasman Dr., San Jose, CA 95134; (408) 526-4000, www.cisco.com.

This article is reprinted from Health Resources Publishing's "Directions: Looking Ahead in Healthcare." © 2011, Health Resources Publishing. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

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This page was last updated: June 27, 2011