There is a global shortage of pediatricians, even in the United States. Sixteen states have fewer than one pediatric subspecialist under age 65 per 100,000 residents, according to the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions.
Pediatric subspecialists who focus on orthopedics, oncology, cardiology, psychiatry, and other fields are also scarce. In Northern California, families sometimes wait as long as nine months to see a pediatric specialist.
Children and families who live in communities without specialists must travel long distances, often at great expense, to get the care they need. Missed days at school and at work compound emotional and financial stress for families and sick children.
At Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, California, Cisco HealthPresence is helping families reduce the cost and stress of seeking specialized pediatric care, and allowing doctors to conduct virtual consultations with out-of-area patients.
William Kennedy, M.D., a pediatric urologist at Packard Children's, is using Cisco HealthPresence to better and more efficiently serve his young patients in Monterey County, where he previously drove two hours each way for consultations.
Engineers and HealthPresence experts at Cisco have worked hand-in-hand with physicians and staff at Packard Children’s to design the perfect telehealth solution.
Packard nurse practitioners on site at Pediatric Group of Monterey interact with patients and facilitate remote HealthPresence sessions with physicians and specialists at Packard’s main campus in Palo Alto.
Packard Children’s has expanded the program to other sub-specialties at CPMC/Sutter Health in San Francisco, increasing the care network to the urban underserved.
Cisco HealthPresence provides “care-at-a-distance,” allowing patients to interact with doctors, who can be hundreds of miles away, in a clinical setting.
Through communication, collaboration, and video technologies, Cisco HealthPresence enables a dynamic environment and delivers a high-quality, face-to-face experience between the patient and the healthcare provider.
Cisco HealthPresence uses the network as the platform and intelligent routing to provide real-time information exchange by connecting medical devices—such as stethoscopes and handheld cameras.
Cisco WebEx and Jabber technologies enable physicians to collaborate to speed referrals, share medical knowledge, and discuss care strategies for patients.
According to initial surveys of Dr. Kennedy' Monterey patients, 56 percent of parents would miss one full day of work to travel to Palo Alto for an appointment, and 34 percent of children would miss one full day of school. Now, they can save time and money by accessing specialty care in their own community.
Insurance carriers will reimburse for post-operative care delivered via the Packard telehealth system, which is expected to increase patient follow-up, reduce complications, and improve access to care.
And because pediatric urologist William Kennedy, M.D. spends less time driving to and from Monterey County, wait times to see him have dropped 60 percent.
As the first facility to use Cisco HealthPresence in a dedicated way for pediatric care, Packard Children’s will be a model for other programs.
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