Cisco and UnitedHealth Group are launching a national telehealth network to provide medical care to people in underserved areas. They hope that the initiative can not only improve quality of care in rural, urban and other underserved areas but also help offset the upcoming physician shortage.
“Connected Care” will combine audio and visual technologies to provide doctor’s appointments that are as close to an in person visit as possible. The network will run on an open platform to include multiple Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendors.
Cisco’s HealthPresence software will supply video conferencing and other network technologies while UnitedHealth connects its provider network with over 590,000 physicians and 4,900 hospitals.
“We’ve now introduced a new care at-a-distance health care delivery model that better connects people, information and processes into one continuum of care. This new technology-enabled delivery model will improve productivity and efficiency in health care while at the same time minimizing costs for access to quality care services,” remarked Cisco’s vice president of the Global Healthcare Practice, Dr. Kaveh Safavi.
According to the initiative “Connect Care” will provide:
- Treatment of a wide variety of conditions, ranging from common ailments like colds, flu, fevers, and allergies, to more chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, which require specialist attention
- Follow-up exams for those being treated for specific conditions or illnesses
- Wellness programs for employees/patients to stay healthy
- Acute care for the ill
The initiative was unveiled on Capital Hill, with the UnitedHealth Group Connected Care Mobile Clinic which showcases the programs technology.