Improving Access to Care for Children in Sergipe, Brazil

 

New Cisco survey findings state the program "Connected Healthy Children" piloted in Brazil improves quality of care to patients and reduced travel time for receiving specialized care

CHICAGO, HIMSS – April 13, 2015 – A new report released by Cisco today outlines results of a recent telehealth pilot program that provides healthcare to underserved children in Sergipe, Brazil.

The new report titled Connecting Brazil’s Children to a Healthier Future, includes findings from a survey conducted by Cisco that telehealth not only helps to improve the quality of care to patients, but also reduces travel time for families who may live in remote areas to visit with a medical specialist.

Cisco first launched the pilot program in collaboration with the Federal University of Sergipe (UFS) and other key partners within two cities of the rural state: Tobias Barreto and Lagarto. The pilot is part of a bigger program called Connected Healthy Children, driven by Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

According to the new report, Brazil has a shortage of medical specialists in remote areas like Sergipe – a state located on the northeastern coastline of the South American country.

With the absence of medical specialists outside of major cities in Brazil, people living in rural areas of the country like Sergipe don’t have as much access to specialized care. Another challenge to provide healthcare in rural regions of Brazil is that clinicians who do live in remote areas often have limited access to collaboration technologies, which may leave them unable to virtually connect with medical peers who have the specialized expertise they need access to.

But despite challenges, 40 patients were able to benefit from telehealth consultations in the initial pilot. According to the report, the program is now ready to support more consultations and will expand to serve hundreds of patients in 2015.

 “The results of this new report show us that bringing telehealth technology to Sergipe can make what may have seemed impossible before possible. Cisco is proud to help bring pediatric care to Sergipe via Cisco telehealth technology so children have enhanced access to the quality healthcare they need to stay healthy,” said Brantz Myers, Senior Manager for Global Healthcare Solutions for Cisco Corporate Affairs.

“One of the major tasks of Brazilian public universities is returning its focus to society’s larger issues: evaluating and addressing solutions. This contribution to social development is only possible when scientific knowledge organized within the classrooms is available to the community. We believe that the partnership we have built with Cisco expands our reach in the community, as we are managing to cope with historical difficulties of our society with the aid of technology,” Angelo Antoniolli, Dean of the Federal University of Sergipe.

Connected Healthy Children – Brazil: Four Key Goals

The Connected Health Children – Brazil pilot program was officially launched February 18, 2014.

To successfully launch the Connected Healthy Children – Brazil pilot program in the state of Sergipe, Cisco concentrated on four key goals:

  1. Enable increased access to pediatric care through Cisco collaboration technology such as Cisco® TelePresence™, Cisco WebEx®, Cisco Show and Share®, Cisco Jabber®, Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), and Cisco Extended Care
  2. Physician -to-patient consultations using generalist to specialist collaboration to improve access to healthcare specialists for patients and families
  3. Physician-to-physician collaboration to improve decision making in remote and rural communities by gaining insights and advice from experts in healthcare centers of excellence
  4. Continuing medical education (CME) to improve education, training and awareness for care teams and members of the community

Preliminary Survey Results:

To conduct the research, Cisco surveyed between 26 and 30 patients about their experiences with the telehealth system. Key findings from the report are as followed:

  • One-hundred percent of patients surveyed said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their virtual consultation.
  • Ninety-three present of patients surveyed and who participated in virtual consultations found them effective and were satisfied with their experience.
  • Ninety-six percent of patients said that using technology during consultations has reduced the amount of time they need to travel to get access to specialized care and that the overall cost burden on their family has been reduced due to the use of Telepresence at their clinic.
  • Ninety-two percent of patients agree that the use of Cisco Telepresence at their local clinic has  improved their quality of care and would recommend Telehealth to other family members.

Bridging the Children’s Healthcare Gap

Cisco determined that Brazil would be a good fit for a Connected Healthy Children implementation. This program, which has already proved successful in pilots in the United States and China’s Sichuan Province, utilizes technology to improve the accessibility and quality of pediatric health services, while also enhancing collaboration and cultivating medical expertise. After a thorough evaluation, the State of Sergipe was selected as a suitable location for the program.

The pilot program Connected Healthy Children – Brazil will officially conclude later in April 2015, after which the Federal University of Sergipe will take the pilot into production deployment and oversee the program moving forward.

Supporting Resources:

Full Report: Connecting Brazil’s Children to a Healthier Future

Connected Healthy Children – Brazil Video (English)

Connected Healthy Children – Brazil Video (Portuguese translation)

Connected Healthy Children – Brazil Video (Spanish translation)

Connected Healthy Children Program

Brazil Starts Pediatric Care Through Telemedicine in Sergipe

Connected North

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Post copied from:  http://newsroom.cisco.com/release/1620776/Cisco-Releases-Report-on-Telehealth-Pilot-Results-for-D_2

25. April 2015 18:57 by Brantz | Comments (7748) | Permalink

Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute - Advancing Research with Collaboration

As the healthcare system faces the challenge of meeting the increasing needs of patient volumes from the Baby Boom, the existing model of “spend more to get more” just isn’t going to scale. We need to find new ways to detect and treat disease, and ultimately, reduce the incidence of illnesses by arming patients with advanced education and improved wellness coaching. The new Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute in Toronto is working toward these and other goals through a number of research initiatives, turning to advanced collaboration technologies to make their work more effective and efficient.

The Institute has research objectives that include demystifying the underlying causes of poorly understood diseases, pandemic response management and the social and ethical implications of health and wellness. This broad range of activity means that experts from around the world need to cooperate on these and other problems as they devise meaningful solutions to address them. In-person, face-to-face collaboration would be great, but flying around on airplanes just doesn’t make sense anymore. And phone calls don’t provide enough of a rich experience to work very effectively on these complex projects.

Instead, the new Li Ka Shing Institute has turned to a wide array of Cisco collaboration offerings that range from video phones to large-screen conferencing systems. This will enable a collaborative rich media experience for the researchers working on projects, whether they are at the Institute or anywhere else in the world.

The Institute’s Allan Waters Family Simulation Centre is equipped with a full-size operating room and features video conferencing units, including Cisco TelePresence, for live remote collaboration. This allows sessions and experiments to be recorded and stored for future retrieval and viewing by hospital staff. The simulation room, which lets full-time and training EMS workers tackle real-life medical scenarios, also features an anatomically correct mannequin that responds to the administration of oxygen, fluids and CPR.

This advanced collaborative experience isn’t limited to bridge teams working over long distances either. Inside the facility, they have virtualized the reception desk by using a video-based concierge service to greet guests. Also, workers can connect by video phone to verify the ID of visitors before they enter a lab facility and digital information signage has been erected throughout the facility.

We are honoured to have played a part in supporting the research at the Li Ka Shing Institute. We expect that their work will be accelerated, in part by the use of the advanced collaboration tools they are deploying. And given that I represent the tail-end of the Baby Boom, I’m looking forward to some of their work being ready to benefit me when I need it!

Brantz Myers is the director of healthcare business development for Cisco Systems in Canada

 

30. October 2011 16:49 by Brantz | Comments (7565) | Permalink

Health care not yet ready to share

Health care not yet ready to share

(From the Globe and Mail - Friday, June 10, 2011)

 
An industry struggles to loosen control of record storage in order to improve communication and cut costs

DIANE JERMYN
Special to The Globe and Mail

Health care providers could benefit from putting their heads in the clouds - the computing clouds, that is. But many in the field do not appear willing to do it.

"The technology is there but the politics aren't necessarily ready nationally," says Brantz Myers, director of health care business development for Cisco Systems Canada. "The players and the people in the health system have their own local agendas in many cases, and are really making it a challenge."

If Canadian hospitals and health providers moved to cloud-based services, they could relieve themselves of managing and maintaining their own computing infrastructure and, in turn, offer better access to health information and improve sharing of patient records between institutions, Mr. Myers says.

Some local and regional institutions are threatened by the cloud, Mr. Myers says. But he says some regional health-information services in Ontario, which already support up to 15 hospitals, may eventually evolve into a cloud service for the entire province.

The installation of cloud systems would not result in the wholesale elimination of hospital IT staff, as some have feared, he says. As technology becomes more efficient, however, some people and their jobs are at risk. That's where the cost savings lie - in eliminating redundant, non-scalable, non-interoperable work. Any reallocation of resources could be used to bolster patient care, he points out.

"The real shift is moving them from the server room to the client side," he says. "In the past, we'd have a nursing station with a few computers at it and now we're moving to potentially multiple devices per person in the health system. And that includes the patient."

It's clear something needs to change. After years of talk, no single, co-ordinated information system has emerged to serve the country, let alone each province, that allows electronic patient records to be shared. Experts have noted that the savings such a system would create could be redirected into, say, shorter wait times for knee replacements. Yet progress has been slow.

Consider this scenario: You have an expensive diagnostic test in Toronto. Then you travel to another province, or even a different part of Ontario, and suffer a heart attack.

The doctor examining you likely won't be able to access your critical medical information because the hospitals' electronic patient record systems are incompatible. So that diagnostic test you had may be unnecessarily repeated - that is, if you're not already dead.

A lot of the problem boils down to "interoperability" between systems at myriad institutions, says Oliver Tsai, director of information technology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

Sunnybrook has developed its own cloud-based software, called MyChart. Patients can access, and choose to share, all their personal health information stored on MyChart, using any kind of device with Internet capability.

So, if you're a Sunnybrook patient and conscious in emergency, you can fire up your iPhone and share your last ECG test with the medical team.

"We're working with other hospitals to co-ordinate information from multiple electronic patient records into a single MyChart," says Mr. Tsai. "That's the big challenge. It could bring health care costs down enormously because co-ordinating access to test results could significantly reduce duplication."

While the challenges of interoperability continue to stymie the health care world, security is another big issue. Not all health organizations like the idea of sharing in a cloud.

Mr. Tsai says Sunnybrook's system uses the same security technology that the banks use. "Our privacy office went to a great deal of work ensuring that access was compliant with both provincial and hospital policies," he says.

Jim Forbes, chief technology officer at Toronto's University Health Network, an umbrella organization of three major hospitals, believes cloud computing offers value to the health system. But he's waiting for some legal clarity and looking for more vendors to be operating within Canada. NHN isn't using cloud computing. The fact that most major cloud services are being offered out of the U.S., that's a worry for him.

"There's a lot of nervousness about storing data in the United States because of the Patriot Act," says Mr. Forbes. "Our main concern is privacy, partly because of sharing with other people and partly because the Patriot Act gives the U.S. government authority to have access to records if they're stored on American soil."

What UHN would like to see is a private federal or provincial government cloud that provides a shared resource for health applications and information that is offered only to health care customers.

So far, no one has done that.

Mr. Tsai believes that Ontario, through its ehealth Ontario initiative, is trying to move in that direction, but it's a complex process. "Progress is slow but steady, and very challenging," says Mr. Tsai. "If you look west to British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, they're already seeing strides toward co-ordinating these electronic patient records between different institutions."

Cisco's Mr. Myers says that if each province built a private cloud, "we might still have interoperability challenges across those 10 clouds. But inside each one of those clouds, we'd go a long way toward solving the challenge of being able to move from one part of a province to another with shared access to electronic medical records."

Mr. Myers predicts we will likely see real health clouds within 18 to 24 months.

"There's a bit of a shift with younger doctors coming into the health system," says Mr. Myers.

"They're more used to a shared world through social networking. As those concepts make their way into the workplace, the politics will slowly go away."

*****

News from globeandmail.com

2. October 2011 00:44 by Brantz | Comments (9589) | Permalink

TeleMedicine and Sustainable Healthcare

Healthcare networks have evolved from simply moving data back and forth to actually delivering valuable services.  As these networks for TeleMedicine get smarter, they can do much more than connect video points together.

They can also securely tie in e-health and medical records, diagnostic images, lab information systems and all sorts of other things.  People can actually book physical and virtual resources - for example exam rooms with specific equipment - so that medical teams can collaborate over any distance, even across the planet.  The potential for this technology is much greater than what we are seeing today.

We have a lot of underlying fundamental conditions that make telemedicine a great choice in Canada, whether it's for psychiatric and addicition counselling, oncology consultations or emergency stroke treatment.  It allows people to be treated more quickly, and in some cases, reduces the risk of long-term ill effects.  When you consider that we have a constitutional obligation to deliver equal access to care for every patient and a population spread over large distances, it makes sense that leadership in telemedicine is found here.

28. January 2011 10:41 by Brantz | Comments (7370) | Permalink

The Wireless Tipping Point

Hospitals, like many other organizations, are being forced to deliver better services with fewer resources. While achieving the goal of superior performance on a tighter budget is a challenge, technological innovations are enabling healthcare providers to stretch their dollars. Two technologies in particular that are driving workflow improvements in healthcare are wireless networks and radio frequency identification (RFID).

Neither wireless networks nor RFID is a particularly new technology. In fact both have been around for many years. In the past, healthcare providers had concerns about security and privacy issues with wireless and RFID, or they might have considered the technologies luxuries, rather than must-have items. In recent months that posture has changed as hospitals around the world have begun using wireless networks combined with RFID to enable more location-based services that improve workflows and enhance patient care.

Studies show that nurses spend between 20 and 30 per cent of their day looking for people, information or equipment. Location-based technology combining wireless and RFID can make the connections between people, information and equipment more seamless and allow nurses and other healthcare professionals to perform their jobs more efficiently.

There are already many examples of RFID technology helping hospitals deploy the right equipment to the right patient at the right time. In the past, hospitals often over-stocked a range of devices such as infusion pumps, wheelchairs, defibrillators and monitors, because the devices could be hard to find and doctors wanted to ensure patients would have access to the equipment as soon as they needed it.  Now many hospitals deploy RFID technology in their portable equipment, allowing hospital staff to quickly pinpoint the nearest ready device and get it to a patient immediately.

Some RFID tags now include probes which allow them to monitor temperatures. Many types of medication have a short shelf life if they aren’t kept refrigerated, so an RFID tag could help hospitals save valuable medication by alerting staff members to a potential problem in a mobile refrigerator, pinpointing the location of the unit and allowing staff to quickly move the medications.

RFID tags are also being used to improve patient safety. An example of this would be an RFID chip attached to a bracelet, alerting hospital staff of a “wandering” patient who left the premises. Another example would be drug dispensing cabinets. Using RFID technology, healthcare providers could have patient medication in individual drawers, with one drawer for each dose. All the drawers could be locked until the right caregiver came to administer the correct dose at the prescribed time, at which point the correct drawer would open.  This would reduce mistakes and ensure patients were getting their correct doses at the right time.  

RFID tags can also be used to prevent baby abductions – called a Code Pink in hospital emergency terminology – which aren’t as rare as most people think. To help prevent a Code Pink, healthcare providers could place an RFID tag on a baby’s bracelet and build a rule that says if the child goes into an area they shouldn’t be in at a certain time, a Code Pink alert will be sent to hospital staff. Cameras connected to a hospital’s security system could take high-resolution photos at the point of alert and send images to the nearest security personnel via PDA or IP phone.

Similarly, RFID tags can help in situations where patients may have aggressive tendencies or not get along with particular caregivers. Hospitals could issue RFID bracelets to track at-risk patients and staff. If a patient who didn’t get along with a particular staff member got too close to the staff member, a rule could be set to issue an alert and have the staff member move away to a safe area. 

These RFID use-cases aren’t commonplace in hospitals now, but within a few years many will become standard procedure. Eventually these capabilities will be rolled out not only throughout hospitals, but into the community, emergency vehicles and even the home, allowing healthcare providers to shift the point of care closer to the patient.

27. January 2011 21:13 by Brantz | Comments (7452) | Permalink

Brantz Myers

Brantz started his professional career in Health Informatics in 1986.  He started a small consultancy company and one of his first projects was to develop an Electronic Medical Record system with a strong analytics engine to support a Neurologist's clinical practice and research projects.  Brantz and his small team took the application to market, which they quickly saturated after a mere 10 sales.  He then went into general IT Sales and Marketing for the next 20 years where he worked and waited for the healthcare industry to ready itself for the new potential that health informatics had to offer.  Brantz is now fully engaged in the challenge of transforming Healthcare in Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

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