Sunday, January 3, 2010

LifeConnections at Cisco

Cisco HealthPresence is a patient care delivery concept that combines Cisco TelePresence and medical devices to enable caregivers and patients who may be miles apart to interact in a clinical setting. This segment from the Discovery Channel gives a brief overview of some of the capabilities.

Cisco has opened the LifeConnections Center, which has offers a breadth of medical services on-campus, ranging from primary care and physical exams to immunizations, lab work, health coaching, acupuncture, chiropractic care and physical therapy ,and also provides a child care center for 400 children, as well as a state-of-the art fitness center.

"A good deal of our focus is on telehealth; specifically, extending the reach of our LifeConnections center using Cisco HealthPresence. We want to bring the holistic approach to integrated healthcare that we offer at the center to employees in remote locations through the virtual face-to-face capabilities of HealthPresence, which uses Cisco TelePresence plus networked medical devices and other technologies to create an experience similar to an in-person office visit," said Corporate Medical Director at Cisco, Dr. Pamela Hymel. Below is a tour of LifeConnections:

The healthcare center offers medical care through an independent medical group with an EHR provided by Cerner Corp. It provides Cisco employees and their dependents with on-campus access to a full range of medical care services, from primary care and physical exams to immunizations, lab work, health coaching and an on-site pharmacy operated by Walgreens. Employees can use the facility on an as-needed basis or for primary care, while still continuing the relationships they have with their private physicians.

"The LifeConnections Center was created to serve as a comprehensive model that showcases the convergence of leading-edge technology and healthcare, while effectively managing the company's health costs over time," said Brian Schipper, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Cisco. "We're excited to foster a flexible, healthier, more productive and more innovative work environment for our employees."

The LifeConnections Center is a 48,000-square-foot fitness center. It includes a multipurpose gymnasium, sauna/steam rooms and group exercise studios. Located adjacent to Cisco's corporate headquarters in San Jose, the 112,000-square-foot facility is a gold-level, LEED-certified green building that highlights environmentally sound construction, energy use and design.

“The idea behind the LifeConnections Health Center is to help Cisco employees engage in health management for themselves and their families,” says Sharon Gibson, healthcare practice director for the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG). “Unlike a traditional clinic where our employees might receive ‘reactive’ treatment for existing health issues, LifeConnections also focuses on prevention,” she says.

Cisco believes the technology of the LifeConnections Health Center will enable them to save money on employee healthcare, even while improving the quality of service and experience for employees and their dependents. Cisco is self-insured and has a low employee turnover rate, two factors that affected the need for the program and will factor in return on investment (ROI) for the health center. Preventing illness and reducing employees’ time away from work for off-campus medical visits will speed ROI through productivity gains.

Much like the way Kaiser Permanente evolved from healthcare programs for construction, shipyard, and steel mill workers for the Kaiser industrial companies during the late 1930s and 1940s, the future of healthcare may look very much like what is happening at Cisco.

Adapted from material at - the author has no financial stake in Cisco Systems

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