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PRESS RELEASE

La Palma and Tenerife Islands Launch the First Telemedicine Service in Spain

Based on the Cisco HealthPresence solution, the service enables patients to connect with faraway doctors, eliminating travel and improving access to care

 

Santa Cruz de La Palma, April 9, 2013.– The council of the island of La Palma and the Canary Island Health Service announced the launch of the first telemedicine service available in Spain. This is a pioneering project based on the Cisco HealthPresence® software platform, enabling patients in the General Hospital of La Palma and the University Hospital of the Canary Islands in Tenerife to obtain medical assistance remotely, without any need to travel from one island to another. This offers a time-saving benefit, convenience and the potential for economic efficiency. 

Cisco and the council of the island of La Palma have been collaborating with the aim at furthering a strategy of economic development while improving the quality of life of the island's inhabitants (Project Antares) by developing information and communication technologies. 

Cisco, the University Hospital of the Canary Islands, and the General Hospital of La Palma today demonstrated the service by conducting a virtual consultation between a doctor situated in the University Hospital in Tenerife and a user in La Palma. The virtual consultation has shown all the advantages of this Cisco® technology with a potential of revolutionizing health care, helping improve patient satisfaction and increasing medical efficiency.

 

Key points of the announcement

The service enables patients in the General Hospital of La Palma to consult with doctors located in the University Hospital of the Canary Islands (Tenerife). Using the Internet as a platform, the Cisco HealthPresence technology combines high-definition video and high-quality sound terminals with the use of certain third-party biomedical equipment — high-resolution camera, stethoscope, otolaryngology probe, vital signs monitor, etc. — through standard interfaces, helping to enable the highly secure transmission of clinical data to a remote provider without significant delay. The solution also makes it possible to save and store all the information in the patient's electronic medical record and to access patient data in real time for consultative purposes. 

  • Thanks to the quality of the service offered, even though patient and doctor are on different islands at the time, the experience is as though they were face to face during the same consultation. 
  • In the first stage, The Cisco TelePresence® EX90 system was the video communications equipment used to display and project information obtained from Cisco HealthPresence in both the General Hospital of La Palma and the University Hospital of the Canary Islands in Tenerife. The Cisco HealthPresence technology can, however, be integrated with any third-party video terminal that supports the SIP/H.323 standard or with any mobile device — laptop, tablet or smartphone — using the Cisco Jabber™ software, which makes the platform flexible. 
  • During the pilot phase of the service, approximately 80 consultations were carried out with real patients, who avoided the inconvenience of travelling between La Palma and Tenerife. While the Pain Unit and Neurosurgery Unit specialists at the University Hospital of the Canary Islands were the first to use the service, it is expected to be extended to other specialities and further centres. 
  • Ninety percent of the patients who have used the service said they would recommend its use to other patients.
  • In addition, 100 percent of the physicians reported having been able to fully develop their activities without any problem and would recommend its use to colleagues. 

Statements in support

  •  Anselmo Pestana Padrón, vice president and director of New Technologies on La Palma Council:

"Besides advantages like the reduction of the time taken to attend to patients and its economic benefits, telemedicine opens up infinite possibilities such as its application to outlying health centres, assistance in the home or the training of medical personnel. The Cisco technology establishes a very human interrelation between patient and doctor and can be connected up with many locations and systems, facilitating simultaneous participation by different specialists."

  • D. José Izquierdo Botella, director of La Palma General Hospital:

"This innovative project enables us not only to extend our services to a greater number of patients, but also to shorten the intervals between follow-ups and, above all, to enhance the quality of our consultations by eliminating travel and by attending to our users ‘face to face' in an environment they find comfortable. All the testing has been successful, and we plan to extend the service to new specialities."  

  • Ignacio López Puech, director of the University Hospital of the Canary Islands (Tenerife):

"Although we are still in its first phase, the service is finding excellent acceptance by the patients, who can access our specialists more often and with less waiting time. The service also encourages close collaboration and a transfer of knowledge between the various medical teams, regardless of their location."

  • Jesús Galindo, director, Public Sector, at Cisco Spain:

"Cisco HealthPresence is an integrated communication and collaboration platform that makes medical care more accessible across geographies while being affordable. It also increases the flow of information among physicians, allowing consultations to be redirected to less congested centres. This improves the reach of specialty services, using resources more efficiently."

Internet of Everything (IoE)

In a world of health and care, the Internet of Everything can have amazing impact when we enable and enhance the patient and caregiver experience. Care-at-a-Distance is one important example of how securely bringing together the healthcare ecosystem including people, information and devices can change the way we change the way we deliver healthcare and wellness.  

Additional resources

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