Cisco outlines its vision of a connected health future

Cisco’s annual Community for Connected Health Summit offered HIMSS11 attendees on Monday a forum for education and idea-sharing – discussing hot-button topics in healthcare and unveiling promising new product prototypes.

The morning was devoted to perspectives on innovation and emerging trends in healthcare services, taking stock of the economic imperatives that affect care delivery and examining how they can be shifted. Presentations focused on the "disruptive" IT advancement that will continue to transform medicine in the coming years.

After lunch, two executives from the Palomar Pomerado Health System in San Diego showed how in-development Cisco technology, working on a Google-based platform, could represent significant advancements in mobile patient care.

Orlando Portale, MSc, FHIMSS, chief innovation officer, and Benjamin Kanter, MD, chief medical information officer at Palomar Pomerado, offered a presentation titled “Addressing Care Delivery Challenges with Tablet Computers.” The technology – offering doctors EHR access and remote physiological monitoring simultaneously via a simple gesture-based user interface – represent what they called a leap forward in wireless healthcare.

Called MIAA – Medical Information, Anytime, Anywhere – the application was developed at Palomar Pomerado. Portale touted of the importance of being "an entrepreneur inside the organization."

The MIAA technology was designed specifically for PPH's core constituency: its physicians. The aim, Portale said, is to "deliver physician happiness." As the audience laughed, he conceded that "they're a tough group. A lot of people tell me that's an impossible task."

Using an as-yet-unreleased Cisco tablet (which offers HD video and virtualization) along with the open-source Android platform offers flexibility and mobility, said Portale. Not only does it give real-time access to a patient's physiological status – broadcasting vital signs such as blood pressure, respiration and skin temperature – it offers crucial context in the form of a patient's electronic records.

Already tested with Cerner Millennium, NextGen and the Veterans Administration VISTA EHR systems, the MIAA technology offers access to patient information across boundaries, Portale said, "taming complexity of a highly fragmented system."

Moreover, he said, the application offers the potential of integration with the NHIN Connect and Direct services.