Cisco has unveiled a new version of HealthPresence, its telehealth platform, to add enhanced security and enable doctors and patients to collaborate from a wider range of locations.
Telehealth is a growing trend that allows patients to connect with health care professionals remotely.
Announced on Nov. 14, the upgraded HealthPresence allows patients to get care when rural or remote locations may prevent in-person physician visits. The telehealth platform allows patients and clinicians to connect using audio, video and remote medical-monitoring devices. Aging patients and those with chronic conditions who are unable to travel can benefit from HealthPresence, according to Cisco.
New deployment models for HealthPresence include business to business as well as hosted/multitenant capability to allow up to 120 instances of HealthPresence on the same physical server.
In addition, with support for a redundant server and an external Network File System (NFS), one server could take over for another automatically if a failure occurs.
New security features include the ability to define a policy for authenticated users, either by using an existing Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) server or having HealthPresence perform the authentication.
Cisco has also added an appointment queuing feature, chat collaboration and an API interface into electronic health records (EHRs).
As part of the HealthPresence workflow, doctors can connect HD audio and video feeds to diagnostic data, which feeds into EHRs.
Medical professionals use HealthPresence in hard-to-reach areas such as Raichur, India.
"Faced with increased patient loads, rising cost and a lack of medical professionals, health systems globally are challenged to meet demands for quality care for their specific market needs," Vishal Gupta, vice president and general manager, Cisco Global Healthcare Solutions, said in a statement. "Cisco HealthPresence is making it possible for patients to connect with the physician or specialist most suited for their needs, whether it's in a medical kiosk in a remote village or a mobile cart in an urban hospital."
Monitoring devices such as the AMD-3700 Telephonic Stethoscope and otoscopes (for examining the ear) allow doctors to monitor patients in remote locations from their office, noted Kathy English, director of Cisco's global health-care practice.
The platform also works with medical devices from companies such as Neurosynaptic Communications and Wellch Allyn.
HealthPresence allows patients and their families to hear the sounds of their lungs or see the redness of an eardrum using the HealthPresence equipment.
"With this technology you can actually display that eardrum on the screen for the mother and physician to view simultaneously," English told eWEEK.
HealthPresence also connects to thermometers, heart rate readers, pulse rate readers and dermascopes to examine the skin.
Doctors can check in on patients for preventive care rather than patients traveling a whole day to get to a doctor, English said.
In addition, patients with conditions such as diabetes are able to see endocrinologists remotely when distance might prevent in-person care, she said.
The product consists of a centralized appliance that runs HealthPresence Connect 2.0 client software and transmits medical device data from one end to another. HealthPresence also provides simplified management and enhanced reporting.
Compatibility with ePen technology allows patients to write prescriptions and submit them electronically.
On Oct. 26 Cisco announced its TelePresence VX Clinical Assistant, which connects to HealthPresence. The VX Clinical Assistant is a mobile telemedicine cart that allows for HD video collaboration between doctors and patients.