Large Employers Getting More Deeply Involved in Managing their Workers’ Health

From CNBC:

An article appearing on reports “a handful of large American employers are getting more deeply involved in managing their workers’ health instead of looking to insurers to do it.”

The example cited is network gear maker Cisco Systems who is reportedly going to unusual lengths to take control of the relentless increase in its U.S. health-care costs by offering its employees a plan it negotiated directly with nearby Stanford Health medical system.

Under the plan, physicians are supposed to keep costs down by closely tracking about a dozen health indicators to prevent expensive emergencies, and keep Cisco workers happy with their care. If they meet these goals, Stanford gets a bonus. If they fail, Stanford pays Cisco a penalty.

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Cisco Launches HealthPresence Telemedicine Solution, Providing Increased Access to Medical Care Worldwide.

At the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference in Atlanta today, Cisco announced the availability of the Cisco HealthPresence™ platform. Cisco HealthPresence is an advanced, care-at-a-distance technology platform that allows patients to connect with doctors and clinicians for health care consultations in ways never before possible. Traditional telemedicine or telehealth approaches have focused mostly on the problem of physical access to medical care. Cisco HealthPresence addresses four additional key health care delivery challenges:

* Capacity (the scarcity and productivity of clinical expertise)
* Collaboration (one patient with many clinicians, many providers with many providers, and many patients with many patients)
* Information exchange (the ability of participants to share and view vital health information)
* Personalization (engaging patients in ways that make them more active participants in consults)

Cisco HealthPresence extends and expands access to health services and quality care. HealthPresence creates new, streamlined clinical encounters by integrating two technology innovations: Cisco TelePresence™ and Cisco® Unified Communications. With high-definition video, clear audio and connected medical devices, Cisco HealthPresence supports collaboration and personalization rarely accomplished in traditional face-to-face consultations. Patients in HealthPresence encounters can see images and listen to sounds from a variety of diagnostic devices, such as digital stethoscopes, actively participating with what clinicians see and hear.

Beginning with HealthPresence trials in 2008, patients have described how the immersive video experience, along with the real-time transmission of physiologic information, draws them into the medical encounter. At the same time, clinicians report more effective patient management with HealthPresence. Equally important, HealthPresence allows multiple members of a patient’s care team to simultaneously participate in consultations, creating new ways to deliver and coordinate care. This is a significant innovation from typical point-to-point telemedicine solutions and even traditional in-person medical examinations. With HealthPresence, primary care physicians and specialists, care managers and rehabilitation therapists, family members, and caregivers can all participate in treatment and care planning. These new capabilities are essential for information and communications technologies to play a vital role improving access to, and the affordability and quality of, health care.


* Cisco HealthPresence is planned to be available beginning March 2010 in markets across the United States, Canada and Europe. It is classified as a Class I medical device by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

* To evaluate patients in an interactive and highly participatory way, Cisco HealthPresence arms clinicians with the essential tools, including:
o Cisco Vitals Software, which captures physiological data and streaming high-definition video feeds, sending them to the clinical team with a high degree of security.
o Cisco TelePresence units in clinical and patient locations.
o Integrated voice, video and data capabilities that collect patient medical information for transmission among multiple health care providers or between a single doctor and patient before, during and after telemedicine consultation. Cisco’s custom software offers highly secure encryption technology to protect the privacy and security of patient data exchanged in distance communications between patients and caregiver staff.
o Medical devices located at the patient’s end unit: a general camera for external observation, ear-nose-throat camera, digital stethoscope, and a vital signs device to capture blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate, and blood oxygen levels.
* Cisco HealthPresence can be deployed in permanent facilities or mobile units.
* Cisco HealthPresence was piloted by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)
* Cisco HealthPresence has already been successfully adopted through pilot programs in the United States and other countries, including:
o A groundbreaking HealthPresence pilot with Molina Healthcare, two community health centers in San Diego, and the state of California to provide health and wellness services to underserved communities throughout the state.
o HealthPresence pilots in Aberdeen, Scotland, with a division of the Scottish National Health Service, and in San Jose, Calif., with employees at Cisco’s corporate headquarters. Both 2009 pilots achieved equally favorable feedback: More than 90 percent of participants said they would recommend the service to others.
o Helping connect patients in need with critical medical resources in international locations including France, the United Kingdom, South Africa and China.

More information is available at;

Source: Cisco, Inc.