Cisco, Scottish Centre for Telehealth, and NHS Scotland launch first Cisco HealthPresence trial

Aberdeen 30 January 2008The Scottish Centre for Telehealth (SCT), Cisco, and the National Health Service in Scotland have launched the world's first trial of Cisco's HealthPresence, an innovative patient care delivery concept using Cisco TelePresence technology. The trial is taking place at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland to assess the efficacy of Cisco HealthPresence, as well as patient and caregiver satisfaction, when the system is used in a safe, highly secure environment. Upon a successful outcome of this programme, further trials may be planned in Scotland and around the world.

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Cisco HealthPresence combines state-of-the-art video, audio and call centre technology with medical information over a highly secure network to create a virtual face-to-face experience for patients and caregivers who may be miles apart. Cisco HealthPresence is a technical platform that interfaces with medical diagnostic equipment, such as stethoscopes and otoscopes, as well as a vital signs monitor that can measure blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate and pulse oximetry to capture the physiological condition of the patient. An attendant is available to operate the medical devices on behalf of the remotely located caregiver as well as to maintain the technology in good operating condition.

Clinicians Dr. Karyn Webster and Dr. Fiona Mair from the Royal Aberdeen Infirmary, who have both used Cisco HealthPresence, commented: "HealthPresence is an asset to improve the quality of telephone advice and triage. Being able to visualise and have physiological parameters on a patient will improve patient care." The system was found to be easy to use, with the two doctors further commenting: "It is a straightforward set-up - as easy as switching on a PC. As health professionals we are increasingly using technology and so are becoming very used to using this type of equipment."

"In our efforts to provide better patient care and utilise our medical staff to the full, we have been collaborating with the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group Healthcare team to find new solutions through innovative technology", stated Gordon Peterkin, director of the Scottish Centre for Telehealth. "Solutions such as Cisco HealthPresence enable us to offer convenience for patients and service delivery efficiency for our doctors. We look forward to drawing upon the results from this pilot to optimise our regional and national health care delivery resources."

"Shortages of health care practitioners and increasing costs, combined with aging populations, have put significant strains on health systems throughout the world. By using the network as a platform, Cisco has a key role to play in the delivery of safe, affordable and accessible health care", stated Nick Augustinos, Global Healthcare Solutions director for the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group. "Joining forces with NHS and SCT has enabled us, together, to consider bringing health care services to remote and rural areas where recruitment and retention of doctors and nurses is proving increasingly difficult."

HealthPresence was developed by Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group and prototyped at Cisco's Technology Centre; it is based on the Cisco TelePresence system, which was launched in October 2006. The lifelike experience of interacting using Cisco TelePresence resulted its deployment by 100 customers in more than 40 countries worldwide within its first year.

The Scottish Centre for Telehealth is a centre of expertise that defines and disseminates best practice and develops standards, protocols, and processes to support telehealth solutions. It supports a range of projects throughout Scotland that contribute towards preventative anticipatory care; sustainable and safe local medical services; care in communities rather than in hospitals; and improved standards and speed of care.

Cisco is a worldwide expert in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco equipment in Europe is supplied by Cisco Systems International BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems Inc. More company news is available in the VMW November 2007 article Denver Health expands RFID use to 1,5 million square feet with technology from InnerWireless and Cisco.


Leslie Versweyveld

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