Cisco extends Medical-Grade Network model with assessment tool and e-Radiology solution

San Jose 01 April 2005Cisco Systems Inc. has introduced two new additions to its Medical-Grade Network initiative to further help hospitals, physicians and clinics more easily collaborate to enhance patient care and improve operational efficiency. These include the Cisco Medical-Grade Network Assessment and Cisco e-Radiology solution. The Medical-Grade Network Assessment tool enables health care executives to objectively evaluate their network capacity and capabilities against the delivery of their current and future health care services and business objectives. The Cisco e-Radiology solution is a suite of Cisco-powered offerings that combines Picture Archival Communications Systems (PACS) applications with a converged network to help optimize the transfer, access and storage of medical images and patient data to enhance consultation, time to diagnosis and time to treatment.

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The Cisco Medical-Grade Network is an industry model that defines an optimized network for health care delivery based on recommended best practices for real-time collaboration, resiliency, security, responsiveness and connectivity. The Medical-Grade Network bundled with Cisco Security Agents provides a secure foundation for medical devices to operate at peak performance.

"A Cisco Medical-Grade Network represents another big step towards a world of Connected Health, where the network can help surgeons conduct medical procedures 400 kilometers away from their patients, or a quarter of a mile below the ocean surface", stated Pierre-Paul Allard, vice president of enterprise marketing for Cisco. "With the help of an intelligent, integrated network, care can be provided anywhere, anytime, to help improve patient treatments and increase caregiver productivity."

The Medical-Grade Network Assessment was developed in conjunction with leading health care providers including Exempla Healthcare of Denver, Lifespan of Providence, Richmond, and the University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System (UCHHS), as a tool to help evaluate how well a network and technology infrastructure supports the current and future business requirements of a provider organisation. Suitable for any size provider organisation, the Assessment considers both technical and clinical needs to determine the network's robustness relative to Cisco-recommended best practices and health care peer organisations.

"The Cisco Medical-Grade Network has helped Exempla make major strides toward realizing our vision of the safest, most collaborative, most effective clinical environment in the nation", stated Laszlo (Lots) Pook, chief technical officer, Exempla Healthcare. "We have put in place a reliable, scalable network backbone, with security, to support whatever the future may hold that provides the resiliency demanded by a 24x7 hospital environment, security for patient privacy, the responsiveness to ensure that clinicians have the right information at the right time, and the interactivity to enable real-time collaboration and enhance care."

As staff shortages require organisations to bolster radiologist productivity by providing centralized radiology services and, in some cases, by outsourcing these services, there is greater demand for "anytime, anywhere" access to full-quality, highly secure diagnostic images. The new Cisco e-Radiology solution, when coupled with the PACS applications of its strategic partners, builds on the advanced capabilities of the Medical-Grade Network to support a converged digital radiology offering that provides increased responsiveness and storage requirements. Such demands are being driven by the increase in the size and number of digital images generated in radiology and cardiology suites today.

With the Cisco-powered e-Radiology solution, PACS network implementation and management costs are reduced by converging data, images and voice onto a single infrastructure. The converged network supports integrated real-time video image consultation and voice recognition technology to streamline reporting, diagnosis and time to treatment. Application reliability, responsiveness and availability are improved by embedding integrated security to ensure network integrity and real-time information access.

For Kodak Health, which provides industry-leading products from Eastman Kodak Company for the capture, processing, viewing, printing, reporting, billing and storing of information (images and patient data) for diagnostic and non-diagnostic applications, the Cisco Medical-Grade Network has provided a secure, integrated network foundation for its medical IT systems. Securing the digital images and patient records is such an important concern that Kodak Health made the Cisco Security Agent (CSA) its choice for protecting all of its PACS and RIS systems. CSA will be integrated into production of all Kodak PACS systems beginning in April 2005.

"As security and reliability continue to take centre-stage for the health care industry, medical IT systems must meet a stringent set of requirements to ensure patient safety and privacy", stated James M. Keese, chief privacy/security officer for Kodak Health. "Coupled with the Cisco Medical-Grade Network, Kodak can offer our customers a secure medical IT solution that takes advantage of a converged network platform to maintain the highest quality imaging standards while easily adding new capabilities, such as integrated voice and video, to enhance diagnostic outcomes and treatment."

The Cisco Medical-Grade Network Assessment and e-Radiology solution are available today. More news on Cisco is available in the VMW March 2005 article London Hospitals transform radiology and imaging services with Cisco Medical-Grade Network.


Leslie Versweyveld

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