Cisco and UnitedHealth Group are creating a program called Connected Care that will use Cisco networking and collaboration technology to help connect doctors with patients in rural and urban communities, as well as other underserved areas. The goal is to use the technology along with such platforms as electronic medical records to make the care given in virtual doctor visits as good as that from in-person visits.
Cisco Systems is teaming with UnitedHealth Group to create a network that
will enable doctors to reach patients virtually.
The "Connected Care" program will rely on Cisco's networking and
collaboration capabilities to help give physicians and other health care
professionals the ability to reach into rural and underserved areas, according
to the two companies.
The telehealth network will essentially bring health clinics not only to
these areas, but also into the workplace.
The goal of the program, introduced July 15, is to bring the same level of
care that patients receive through in-person doctor visits to the virtual
health network, according to Kaveh Safavi, vice president of Cisco's Global
"In developing advanced telemedicine technologies, we're unlocking new
possibilities for how patients can interact with doctors and the medical
staff," Safavi said in a statement. "The in-person visit with a doctor is no
longer the sole -gold standard' method for delivering high-quality health care
services. 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."
Cisco's HealthPresence collaboration platform will be a key technology in
the Connected Care strategy. It will help combine audio and visual capabilities
with medical information to create an experience similar to that of an
in-person visit, according to Cisco officials.
The two companies made the announcement in Washington,
D.C., when they demonstrated the
UnitedHealth Group Connected Care mobile clinic containing the technology.
The program will use an open network that will incorporate third-party
technologies and electronic health care records, and will enable real-time
connectivity between patients and health care providers.
Cisco and UnitedHealth Group-which includes a network of 590,000 health care
providers and more than 4,900 hospitals-conducted a seven-month pilot of the
program with Cisco employees in San Jose, Calif. UnitedHealth Group also is
putting tens of millions of dollars into the initiative.
There also were two other pilot programs run by Cisco, with the other two in
Scotland and New
Zealand. Currently, there are six Connected
Care programs being developed in the United
Cisco is continuing to expand the reach of its networking and collaboration
technologies into various industries, part of what CEO
John Chambers referred to during the Cisco Live 2009 event in June as the more
Cisco is targeting. Health care is one area, with education
and energy being among the other areas.