Cisco and Molina Healthcare announce transformative telemedicine pilot programme for underserved and underinsured communities

Sacramento 15 January 2010Cisco has launched a ground-breaking telemedicine pilot programme initiative with Molina Healthcare, two community health centres in San Diego, and the state of California to provide health and wellness services to underserved communities throughout the state. More than 15 sites will be equipped to deliver telemedicine primary and specialty care services using Cisco HealthPresence, a care-at-a-distance technology solution that combines state-of-the-art video, audio, and medical information to create a patient care experience similar to the common medical encounter when patients visit their health care providers. As part of this programme, Cisco is contributing $10 million of product, services and support.


Through this California Telemedicine Pilot Project, Molina Healthcare, Mountain Health and Community Services and La Maestra Community Health Centers will use Cisco HealthPresence to deliver primary and specialty care services, and the University of California at Davis, an expert in telemedicine, is currently working to join the ecosystem as well. The availability of a care-at-a-distance network will give patients easier access to doctors and specialists that equals or exceeds an in-person medical visit.

Cisco HealthPresence includes integrated state-of-the-art medical diagnostic equipment to provide health care professionals with excellent evaluative capabilities and it allows both doctors and patients to engage in an experience that is more participatory and immersive than in-person visits or telemedicine initiatives of the past. Through the use of high-definition cameras and electronic scopes, patients will also be able to see and listen to the medical examination in the same way as the clinician, allowing for more informed interactions with physicians.

HealthPresence also enables multiple members of a patient's care team - primary care provider, specialist physicians, care manager, family members and others - to meet in real-time, regardless of location or distance. This supports better care collaboration and patient management.

Although HealthPresence has been piloted for two years in clinical settings, this initiative serves as a proof-of-concept for Cisco and its partners to demonstrate the value of a scalable, cost-efficient telemedicine network that scales the medical workforce and scarce clinical expertise by connecting facilities across the state of California, in real time, for activities such as patient care and education, as well as clinician-to-clinician consultation or education.

The California Telemedicine Pilot Project will connect more than 15 locations throughout the state, and all sites are expected to be fully operational within six months from the time of the announcement. Pilot programme participants include: Molina Healthcare locations, Mountain Health and Community Services in San Diego, La Maestra Community Health Centers in San Diego, with a planned expansion to the University of California at Davis.

This pilot programme complements the California Telehealth Network, an unprecedented statewide coalition of health care, technology, government, and other stakeholders, to use and build upon California's historic and recent investments in telehealth.

Cisco's collaborative technologies facilitate the intelligent routing of caregiver communications, and its network security technology helps ensure that remote communications between patients and caregiver staff are protected and secure.

Telehealth is a fast-growing area opening new options for health care delivery. In the economic stimulus legislation, Congress earmarked billions of dollars for broadband infrastructure that can support telemedicine. The Association of American Medical Colleges has estimated that due to population growth, aging and other factors, the country is facing a potential shortage of 159.000 primary care physicians by 2025. Telemedicine technologies help scarce health care professionals reach the widest patient population most efficiently.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor, State of California, stated: "California is already a world leader in technology, so it makes sense that we also lead the way in applying technology to health care. We have been laying the groundwork for years with our Broadband Task Force and Telehealth Network and we are beginning to see fantastic results, including greater access to quality medical care throughout the state. What Cisco is doing here with the latest in high-tech approaches and communication is the future of medicine and we are very excited to see such innovative partners work to expand telemedicine connections and medical care in California."

John Chambers, chairman and chief executive officer, Cisco, stated: "Healthcare is in the midst of a major market transition - and technology can make a tremendous impact. This public/private partnership between Cisco, Molina Healthcare and the state of California marks the latest in a series of steps we are taking to help modernize our health care system and bring about new models of health care delivery. The use of video and collaboration has significant benefits for the doctor/patient experience as we know it, and Cisco sees telemedicine as a vehicle for transforming health care on a global scale. At Cisco, we have a strong culture of giving back, and we are fortunate to work alongside private and public sector leaders like Molina Healthcare, as well as a visionary governor to help propel this project forward and bring about equitable access to cost-effective, quality health care services."

J. Mario Molina, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Molina Healthcare Inc., stated: "By implementing HealthPresence in our Molina Medical offices, our patients will have increased access to health care services. With this system, health care professionals need not be physically present in the same location as the patient. In addition to interaction with their providers, patients will also benefit from interactions with our health educators and dieticians who are not physically located in the clinics. For example, our dieticians and health educators will provide diabetic patients with instruction on controlling diabetes and on how to administer insulin shots."

Judith Shaplin, chief executive officer, Mountain Health and Community Services and Zara Marselian, chief executive officer, La Maestra Community Health Centers, stated: "We are pleased to partner with Cisco and use HealthPresence to provide care for the Safety Net. Health centres are consistently challenged to find innovative ways of improving access to care for uninsured and rural populations. We hope this collaborative implementation of HealthPresence among our clinics in San Diego will be a model for others across the state, as well as encourage additional support for the use of telemedicine to bridge distance and co-ordinate care."

Molina Healthcare Inc. is a multi-state managed care organisation that arranges for the delivery of health care services to persons eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, and other government-sponsored programmes for low-income families and individuals. Molina Healthcare's ten licensed health plan subsidiaries in California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Washington currently serve approximately 1,4 million members.

Mountain Health & Community Services is a private, non-profit community health centre providing comprehensive primary care and behavioural health services to low-income, medically underserved San Diego County residents, with particular reference to residents of rural eastern San Diego.

La Maestra Community Health Centers is a 501(c)(3) Federally Qualified Health Center that has been providing culturally-competent quality health care and community services in San Diego since 1990. Clients of La Maestra can receive a full range of primary medical services for all ages, as well as oral, behavioural and vision care and education to encourage healthier lifestyles. Social services including insurance eligibility, transportation, translation, housing assistance, a food pantry, and financial literacy and job placement are also available to help the members of this diverse community begin down the path that will lead them to health, well-being and self-sufficiency.

Cisco, a worldwide expert in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, this year celebrates 25 years of technology innovation, operational excellence and corporate social responsibility. More Cisco news is available in the VMW November 2009 article Garrahan Hospital enriches telemedecine experience with Cisco Technology and Telefónica Connection.

Source: Cisco Systems Inc.

[Medical IT News][Calendar][Virtual Medical Worlds Community][News on Advanced IT]