Cisco Unveils HealthPresence 2.5, Connected Health to Aid Collaboration

Cisco has announced HealthPresence 2.5 and the global availability of Connected Health to boost telehealth collaboration.

Cisco has unveiled a new version of its HealthPresence platform and global availability of its Connected Health services, two products the company says will help with care efficiency and collaboration.

Announced on Jan. 17, HealthPresence 2.5 allows health care organizations to build a scalable, flexible telehealth network, according to Cisco.

HealthPresence integrates high-definition video and medical devices and allows physicians in a remote location to assess a patient's condition. Version 2.5 will enable organizations to customize their telehealth platforms, Cisco reported.

"Customers are looking for new models for health care while protecting health information," Kathy English, senior director of public sector and health care marketing at Cisco, said on Jan. 16 at the virtual Cisco Connected Health Roundtable.

Laws such as the Affordable Care Act are impacting the ability of health care providers to deliver new models of service, according to English.

New features in HealthPresence include standards-based connectivity to third-party medical devices. The platform allows hospital staff to connect driverless USB, S-Video and composite-based medical devices.

In addition, HealthPresence now includes standards-based video conferencing. Providers can use any endpoint that supports Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)/H.323 video standards.

Endpoints may include the Cisco VX Clinical Assistant cart, the 42-inch TelePresence MX200 system, or the TelePresence SX20 featuring a camera and screen.

"Customers wanted to be able to use it on furniture, use their own endpoint—an endpoint like Cisco's telehealth [systems], perhaps Polycom's or perhaps an iPad and bring in video through Jabber," said English.

Providers can use their own IT staff or a Cisco Certified Partner to install HealthPresence, the company reported.

"Cisco HealthPresence 2.5 offers our customers incredible flexibility to build the right solution for their telehealth initiatives," David Plummer, global business leader for Cisco HealthPresence, said in a statement. "By unbundling the solution and offering Cisco HealthPresence software as a stand-alone offering, Cisco now enables customers to build telehealth networks using the hardware that best suits their needs."

The company also announced Cisco Services for Connected Health and Cisco Architectures for Connected Health. The services allows health care parties such as doctors, patients, clinicians, authorities and health insurance companies to collaborate in a video conference.

These products include Cisco Advisory Services for Connected Health, which provides guidance to health care organizations on identifying objectives, business requirements, return on investment and use cases.

"The advisory service will allow you to identify where some of the challenges are in your care setting or customers' care settings and identify where there are areas of improvement," said English.

Meanwhile, Cisco Security Services for Connected Health provides analysis of health organizations' security requirements and uses a standards-based approach to identify gaps in policies and processes.

"Security is top of mind, whether it be from an application perspective, cyber or Internet access capabilities or whether it be security in general around HIPAA [the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act], " said English.

Another component, Cisco Architecture Assessment Services for Connected Health, identifies health care organizations' needs and evaluates network infrastructure, security, mobility and storage. "The architecture assessment for Connected Health will enable customers to deliver on the concept of the smart hospital," said English.

Optimization Services for Connected Health help a health care organization manage total cost of ownership and Cisco Pilot, Design, Implementation (PDI) Services for Connected Health provides a way to develop a detailed design for pilot implementations.

"All of these [Connected Health products] are brought together through a managed set of services that will truly allow you to address customer challenges," said English.