The telemedecine pilot, enabled by Cisco collaborative technologies such as Cisco TelePresence and Cisco Unified Communications, will enhance doctor-patient interactions over a distance; support diagnoses in complex cases in remote and budget-constrained hospitals; optimize the hospital's resources; and underpin a more collaborative process in terms of procedures, prevention programmes and medical treatment, all within a highly secure and effective environment.
The telemedicine pilot project, based on the concept of Connected Health by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), promises to be an innovative way of optimizing and elevating the telemedicine experience for health professionals and patients in Argentina and the rest of Latin America.
This initiative is part of the Garrahan Hospital's telemedecine Reference and Counter-reference Programme, which has been taking place for more than 12 years in partnership with the Garrahan Foundation. The programme is managed by the Communications at a Distance Office, which delivers remote support for diagnosis via e-mail, fax and telephone to more than 70 hospitals in Argentina.
The telemedecine pilot project with Cisco includes three phases: The first phase within the Garrahan Hospital was designed to test the Cisco TelePresence technology and provide training to doctors. The second phase involves connecting the Garrahan Hospital and Castro Rendón Hospital, located about 1400 kilometers away in the Neuquen province in the Argentinean Patagonia, through Telefonica's network. The last phase will provide coverage to the main medical centres that participate in the Communications at a Distance programme of Garrahan Hospital, including the most southern area of the country.
Telefónica is providing connectivity through its national network for the Garrahan Hospital and Castro Rendón Hospital in Nequén.
The programme is focused on two main goals: One is that patients from any part of the country will be able to obtain excellent medical care with the possibility of having consultations and appropriate referrals. And the other one is guaranteeing access to medical care from the place of residency, in order to be able to continue with control and necessary follow-ups to receive the specialized care for pathologies that require immediate or short-term treatment.
Telefónica is providing the connectivity for the project through its national network.
Dr. Luis Carniglia, institutional relations co-ordinator at Prof. Dr. Juan P. Garrahan Pediatric Hospital, responsible for the "Reference and Counter-reference Programme", stated: "The first phase of the project is demonstrating that technologies such as Cisco TelePresence can be a transforming element in our ability to provide effective medical care at a distance, and therefore being able to provide new services to citizens all over the country. The first step was the improvement of phone communications. Secondly, we implemented e-mail, and now there is Cisco TelePresence to create an ideal environment for the development of better communication and collaboration in health care."
Jozek Gruskovnjak, director, Cisco IBSG, stated: "Connecting patients and medical providers through the integrated innovative use of video-voice communications and medical diagnostic components can clearly enhance the quality of health care experience. However, when a telemedicine programme such as that implemented by Garrahan Hospital addresses the challenge of offering access to specialized health care to cover distant and remote areas, it begins to create a virtuous spiral of a healthy population essential to development."
Claudio Ingilde, manager, Public Sector, Cisco Argentina and Chile, commented: "We believe that medicine and technology must unite to provide access to health care. Cisco technologies for telemedicine are an example of our innovative approach to the development of solutions that enable improvements to the patient's experience, simplifying communications in terms of health care, and connecting patients and doctors in a more efficient way. Toward achieving this commitment, we are pleased to work together with Garrahan Hospital, the paediatric medicine icon in the country."
Daniel Miodownik, director, Telefónica, noted: "Telefónica, through its Division of health, provides various value-added services under the concept of telemedicine. With this agreement, we are approaching and facilitating contact with remotely located patients and the Garrahan Hospital. Telefónica provides state-of-the-art technology which helps ensure speed, availability and quality for this experience in real-time between geographically distant health centres."
"Prof. Dr. Juan P. Garrahan" S.A.M.I.C. Pediatric Hospital is a high-complexity public hospital which provides medical care to newborns, children and adolescents - between the ages of 0 and 15. Due to its characteristics, the level of training of its personnel and its equipment, it is considered to be a national reference centre for the diagnosis and treatment of the most complex childhood pathologies. Medical care is free for patients and the Hospital receives its budget from public funding provided by the National Government and the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, and from invoicing for services for charitable work and private medical care.
Globally, Telefónica is the first company in Latin America, the second integrated telecommunications company in the world and the third market capitalization in the industry, serving more than 259 million customers. In Argentina Telefónica has 15,5 million mobile lines, 1.160.000 high speed internet accesses and 4,6 million telephone lines.
Cisco is a worldwide expert in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Cisco equipment in emerging markets is supplied by Cisco Systems International BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco Systems Inc. More company news is available in the VMW August 2009 article UnitedHealth Group and Cisco launch Connected Care, the first national telehealth network to expand health care access.