Cisco helps Palomar Pomerado Health open 'Hospital of the Future' three years ahead of schedule in 'Second Life'

Orlando 25 February 2008Cisco and Palomar Pomerado Health (PPH) have cut the ribbon on a new hospital in the on-line virtual world "Second Life". The virtual hospital, a simulation of a real-world hospital campus due to open in 2011, gives visitors the opportunity to tour the hospital years before its doors actually open.

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The virtual hospital showcases the rich assortment of design and technology innovations planned for the real-world Palomar West Medical Campus in San Diego, California, and to gather feedback that will be used to enhance the way that care is delivered. The immersive quality of "Second Life" allows visitors to experience the progressive nature-embracing design of the hospital firsthand. Visitors will also be able to experience Connected Hospital technologies that will be delivered in the real hospital by Cisco.

Highlights of the virtual Palomar West include:

  • Cisco TelePresence: Visitors are welcomed to Palomar West in "Second Life" by a virtual receptionist appearing via Cisco TelePresence, a new technology that uses high-definition video and spatial audio to create unique "in person" experiences via the network.
  • Advanced Robotics: The simulation shows Palomar West's operating rooms, which include advanced robotics and functional imaging systems capable of supporting medical procedures spanning interventional radiology, cardiovascular surgery, urology and gastro-enterology. An advanced surgical cockpit, from where a surgeon can manipulate robotic systems remotely while viewing vital signs and functional imaging information in real time, is also featured.
  • Communication and Collaboration: The simulation shows how the Cisco Unified Communications system facilitates smooth patient and clinician communication. For example, a radiologist can locate specialists, contact them on their phones, laptops or PDAs, and initiate a desktop collaboration session to review and consult on patient scan images thanks to the network that links picture archiving systems with communications tools.
  • 3D Holographic Medical Imaging: Palomar West will feature mobile, remote-controlled, 3D holographic whole-body multi-modality medical imaging systems that can be directed into any patient room.
  • Connected Real Estate: In the real Palomar West, all building, communication, IT, and clinical systems will be converged onto a single Cisco Medical-Grade Network. The simulation shows how nearly all aspects of a patient's stay - including ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, security, fire and life safety, digital devices, and signage - will be monitored and managed via applications running on a single network, freeing up clinicians to focus on providing the very best care.
  • Visibility and Tracking Solutions: Visitors are guided through Palomar West by radio frequency-enabled sensors that enhance security and safety through patient tracking, and that protect hospital property by tracking equipment in real time.

Construction of the real-world $811 million Palomar Medical Center West campus is due to be completed in 2011. The new facility is designed to positively transform the traditional health care experience that is normally associated with staying or working in a hospital. The campus will epitomize Cisco and PPH's shared vision of a "Connected Hospital", where technology and the physical environment seamlessly integrate to enhance patient care through the sharing of timely, accurate information among the right people at the right time, between hospitals and the extended ecosystem of care.

In addition to embracing the latest connected health technologies, Palomar West has been physically designed to provide a high-performance healing environment through a constant connection with nature. Outdoor features of the campus showcased in the "Second Life" simulation include garden spaces, areas for dining, meeting or relaxing; a pedestrian path and garden connecting all buildings; a green roof bringing gardens up onto the building, with views from patient rooms; and garden terraces on the nursing floor.

Palomar West in "Second Life" also provides visitors with a view of the design of individual patient rooms on the new Palomar West campus. Features of these rooms will include:

  • Same-handed, acuity-adaptable rooms and cross-discipline interventional procedure/operating rooms. Acuity-adaptable rooms can be transformed, even if a patient's condition changes, without having to move patients from unit to unit. Any necessary equipment can be brought into the room on an as-needed basis, further reducing the need for patient transport.
  • Each patient room is designed with a nursing station immediately outside the room, so the intensity of service can be adjusted as needed.
  • Every room in Palomar West is single occupancy and identical in layout and design. This maximizes efficiency and minimizes medical errors.

Palomar Pomerado Health, California's largest public health district, is North County's most comprehensive health care delivery system, recognized for clinical excellence in cardiac care, women's services, bariatric surgery, cancer, orthopaedics, trauma, rehabilitation and behavioural health services. Facilities include Palomar Medical Center, Pomerado Hospital, Villa Pomerado, Palomar Continuing Care Center, Escondido Surgery Center, Palomar Pomerado Behavioural Health Services and Palomar Pomerado Home Care.

More Cisco news is available in the VMW February 2008 article Cisco, Scottish Centre for Telehealth, and NHS Scotland launch first Cisco HealthPresence trial. You can enter and make the "Second Life" tour of the Hospital of the Future at the Virtual Palomar West website.


Leslie Versweyveld

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