Cisco offers systems to improve healthcare communication

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Imagine in are in an emergency room and you’re trying to explain your problem to a doctor that does not speak your language what your problem is. Sound like a nightmare? Well, it’s a very real situation that Cisco Systems at HIMSS07 in New Orleans presented a solution to. It’s called Healthcare Interpreter Network (HCIN) and it is part of the company’s Clinical Connection Suite. The network, which covers 127 languages, is built to provide healthcare facilities with virtually instant access to specially trained medical interpreters in order to ensure clear communications with patients.

“With an on-camera interpretation solution, healthcare providers benefit from a patient’s body language and facial expressions, helping them gain a better sense of the patient's understanding and improve the accuracy of a diagnosis,” said Melinda Paras, CEO of Paras & Associates and the architect of the network. “Backed by Language Line Services’ infrastructure of expertly trained medical interpreters and powered by a Cisco network, the Video Interpreter Network will greatly enhance the quality of healthcare services at our nation’s medical institutions.”

According to the developers, key benefits of the network include:

  • Instant access to trained healthcare interpreters for physicians and staff, with average connection times under 30 seconds;
  • Comprehensive language coverage including American Sign Language, with 24/7 service in conjunction with Language Line Services;
  • Cost savings to hospitals due to the reduced cost-per-minute charges for ASL and other language interpreters;
  • One hundred percent access at every point of patient care in a hospital combining video and telephone devices connected to a single call center service; and
  • Opportunities to collaborate with other hospitals within a system or geographic area, by sharing trained interpreters and making use of an economy of scale.

Another tool on display at HIMSS was the Cisco Unified Personal Communicator  which provides a means to simply access voice, video, instant messaging, Web conferencing, voice mail, and presence information from a single, multimedia interface on your PC or Mac. The application has been developed to integrate your most frequently used communications applications and services.

Specifically, the application enables you to:

  • Connect with colleagues more efficiently by knowing beforehand whether they are available and how they prefer to be reached;
  • Share documents and communicate face-to-face using video and Web conferencing;
  • Manage voice, video, instant messaging (IM), document sharing, voicemail playback, and directories in a single interface; and
  • Save time by using an integrated toolbar for click-to-call or IM within your Outlook contacts and e-mail.

Cisco also demonstrated its Bedside Services systems, an integration of products from HP, Cisco and CARDIAC. The integration includes Cisco's Medical Grade Network framework which is the underlying network elements that support CARDIAC's Integrated Hospital offering combined with elements of HP's Digital Hospital Infrastructure solution suite. HP acts as the systems integrator, providing overall project management, system architecture design, integration with CARDIAC IMATIS middleware, security, and the implementation of network and open roaming.
The combination should help healthcare professionals:

  • Share patient information quickly;
  • Track mobile equipment and key assets wirelessly;
  • Be more responsive by communicating with patients and colleagues wirelessly, and in real-time;
  • Monitor patients remotely, quickly and accurately; and
  • Collaborate more efficiently for effective patient care.