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Delivering virtual care at scale

Virtual care comes in many forms and the term covers a multitude of use cases and workflows. We find that providers can deliver better remote care, at lower cost, when they standardize on a virtual care platform with the ability to support all core use cases.

At Cisco, we’ve taken a full-stack platform approach that leverages the power of our Webex service, together with software and hardware deployed across the cloud and the premise, to deliver the best possible end-user experience and scale across the many use cases of virtual care.

So, what are some of the use cases for virtual care and how can technology drive adoption and scale?

Reducing the need for meetings

With asynchronous video, we give administrators and clinicians the ability to easily record and publish short video messages to a group of stakeholders. Video makes the message more personal than a simple email, is available for consumption at the recipient’s convenience and reduces the need for yet another meeting.

Facilitating effective hybrid meetings and training

For team meetings or training sessions, the new Webex service has been re-designed to drive engagement and inclusivity. We want every meeting participant to contribute their ideas to the team.

The right video device in each workspace simplifies the meeting experience for clinicians and administrators and allows groups of people in the hospital to be together in a physical meeting space while still connecting and collaborating with remote team members.

Managing community outreach

Webex Events is designed to provide end-to-end management of larger scale events. For example, community engagement or fundraising. By supporting all the different work streams that are needed to pull off a successful large-scale event, Webex Events can be fully virtual, physical or a mix of both.

World-class remote patient consults

For telehealth consultations, our team of healthcare experts have purpose-built Webex Instant Connect. This sits on top of the Webex platform and delivers on four key elements to virtual care at scale: Integration in clinician workflow through Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems, easy access for all patients, security and being manageable at scale. To learn more about how to specifically drive telehealth adoption within your healthcare organization, we recommend reading one of our past blog posts on the subject.

This capability is also helping drive healthcare equity in rural areas of the country. Exam rooms are equipped with fit-for-purpose video devices. The healthcare system schedules a consult for the remote patient with a clinician who is physically in one of their larger hospitals. The clinician uses Webex Instant Connect to schedule and start the virtual session. The medical assistant uses the video device in the remote clinic to bring the patient and doctor together over the virtual call. The quality of that call is high because the institution controls network bandwidth in the clinic and the video device is built around state-of-the-art components.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

Collaboration amongst clinicians and specialists is critical for quality and effective patient care. Currently, we work with healthcare organizations who are using Cisco’s hardware and software together to run tumor boards where specialists from across the country are brought together to collaborate on a patient’s care. We can pull up to four separate feeds into this multi-content solution, with one or two of those feeds usually coming from existing Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS).

Virtual rounding

In the case of virtual rounding, we are working with hospitals to add our secure video systems to the existing TVs in the patient rooms. Then, via the EHR, clinicians are presented with a list of patients to round on virtually. When the call button is pressed by the clinician to round on a patient, the Webex platform makes a call to the video device in that patient’s room, and the doctor is placed into a high-quality video consult with the patient. We employ a “knock before entering” analog to protect patient privacy.

Family engagement

The same setup can help the patient stay in contact with their family members. The experience for the patient goes something like this: patient brings up an app on their room TV and they enter the smart phone numbers of the family members they want to contact. Our service sends an SMS text message containing a secure Webex Instant Connect link to the family members. The family members click the link, their browser opens, and they are placed in a high-quality video call with their loved one. No logins or passwords required.

Remote proctoring

Providers can also use Cisco technology to allow a remote surgeon to proctor another surgeon in an Operating Room through a procedure.

We can also facilitate access to care in remote parts of the world using the same technology. Here’s an interesting example of how the technology is supporting care at home in remote parts of Norway.

Medical education using 3D virtual technology

What does the future bring for Webex technology? Soon, you’ll see Cisco bring innovative 3D experiences to the platform through Webex Hologram. We’ll provide a capture device that allows a presenter to work with a physical object such that remote participants wearing a 3D headset feel as if they are physically present with that object and the presenter. This technology will minimize the barrier of location for medical students or continuing education and training for healthcare professionals.

As you can see, there are so many ways to utilize technology to scale virtual care within your healthcare organization. Our goal is to help healthcare organizations deploy virtual care solutions that make a significant contribution to the goals described by the quintuple aim of improving patient experience, providing better outcomes for patients, lower costs, improving clinician well-being and health equity.

Cisco has and continues to make significant investments in our healthcare practice, including a dedicated healthcare services capability that drives successful technology implementation and adoption. We are experts in secure, high-quality digital communications and we’ve leveraged that expertise to support the workflow demands of healthcare – specifically virtual care – at scale.

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