Health Care IT: Cisco, Palomar Health Collaborate on 'Hospital of the Future' in San Diego

By Brian T. Horowitz  |  Posted 2012-09-07 Print this article Print
Cisco IP Phones

Cisco IP Phones

With the lack of central nursing stations like in traditional hospitals, nurses rely on Cisco 7925 IP Wireless Phones to keep patients and nurses connected in real time. Patients contact nurses or clinician assistants on the phones if they need water or pain medication or even the bed raised. "They can discuss a particular patient's condition in real time without having to walk back to a nursing station or a meeting room," said Portale. The hospital is able to reduce the amount of overhead from pagers, said Mike Haymaker, Cisco's health care marketing leader for the Americas. Instead of five or six pagers, nurses can use one IP phone, Haymaker told eWEEK. In addition, the phones can be wiped down and survive being dropped, Haymaker said.
On Aug. 19, San Diego's Palomar Health opened its 288-bed Palomar Medical Center, featuring several technologies from Cisco Systems. The largest health district in California, Palomar Health serves more than 500,000 residents in the inland north San Diego area. Palomar Medical Center is a 740,000-square-foot facility with 1,700 health care providers and staff. Cisco and Palomar built out a virtual hospital in Second Life starting in 2008 while preparing for the opening of the real-life facility in August. The new hospital will incorporate technology such as body-worn sensors from Sotera Wireless, telepresence robots from IVCi and Cisco voice-over-IP phones instead of pagers. In addition, Cisco's Unified Computing Network will provide storage backup and virtualization. A 10-gigabit high-bandwidth network will allow the hospital to provide video, messaging, voice and images all on one network, Orlando Portale, chief innovation officer for Palomar Health, told eWEEK. "Our thinking was this tech infrastructure, networking, communications and collaboration were going to be a key underpinning for what we're doing here going forward," said Portale. Here eWEEK takes a look at the technologies that make up Palomar Health's "hospital of the future."
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company,, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents,, USA Weekend and, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.

Follow him on Twitter: @bthorowitz


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