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Telehealth “HealthPresence” Pilot Creates Virtual Face-to-Face Experience for Patients, Providers

HealthPresence, the world’s first trial of an innovative patient care delivery concept using Cisco® TelePresence technology, combines state-of-the-art video, audio and call center technology with medical information over a highly secure network to create a virtual face-to-face experience for patients and caregivers who may be miles apart.

The HealthPresence pilot is a collaboration of The Scottish Centre for Telehealth (SCT), Cisco and the National Health Service in Scotland.

The trial is taking place at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland to assess the efficacy of Cisco HealthPresence, as well as patient and caregiver satisfaction, when the system is used in a safe, highly secure environment. Upon a successful outcome of this program, further trials may be planned in Scotland and around the world.

Cisco HealthPresence is a technical platform that interfaces with medical diagnostic equipment, such as stethoscopes and otoscopes, as well as a vital signs monitor that can measure blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate and pulse oximetry to capture the physiological condition of the patient. An attendant is available to operate the medical devices on behalf of the remotely located caregiver as well as to maintain the technology in good operating condition.

Dr. Karyn Webster and Dr. Fiona Mair from the Royal Aberdeen Infirmary, who have both used Cisco HealthPresence, commented that "HealthPresence is an asset to improve the quality of telephone advice and triage. Being able to visualize and have physiological parameters on a patient will improve patient care."

"Shortages of healthcare practitioners and increasing costs, combined with aging populations, have put significant strains on health systems throughout the world. By using the network as a platform, Cisco has a key role to play in the delivery of safe, affordable and accessible healthcare", says Nick Augustinos, global healthcare solutions director for the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group. "Joining forces with NHS and SCT has enabled us, together, to consider bringing healthcare services to remote and rural areas where recruitment and retention of doctors and nurses is proving increasingly difficult."

HealthPresence was developed by Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group and prototyped at Cisco's Technology Center; it is based on the Cisco TelePresence system, which was launched in October 2006. The lifelike experience of interacting using Cisco TelePresence resulted in its deployment by 100 customers in more than 40 countries worldwide within its first year.

Source: Cisco, January 30, 2008

Telemedicine Law & Practice

Compiled and edited by America's foremost authorities on telehealth and medical information technology law, Telemedicine Law & Practice is a comprehensive guide to safe, sure compliance with state and federal laws governing telemedicine.

Telemedicine Law & Practice is available from the Healthcare Intelligence Network for $311.50 by visiting our Online Bookstore or by calling toll-free (888) 446-3530.

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