CHICAGO, HIMSS – April 13, 2015 – A new report released by Cisco today outlines results of a recent telehealth pilot program that provides healthcare to underserved children in Sergipe, Brazil.
The new report titled Connecting Brazil’s Children to a Healthier Future, includes findings from a survey conducted by Cisco that telehealth not only helps to improve the quality of care to patients, but also reduces travel time for families who may live in remote areas to visit with a medical specialist.
Cisco first launched the pilot program in collaboration with the Federal University of Sergipe (UFS) and other key partners within two cities of the rural state: Tobias Barreto and Lagarto. The pilot is part of a bigger program called Connected Healthy Children, driven by Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
According to the new report, Brazil has a shortage of medical specialists in remote areas like Sergipe – a state located on the northeastern coastline of the South American country.
With the absence of medical specialists outside of major cities in Brazil, people living in rural areas of the country like Sergipe don’t have as much access to specialized care. Another challenge to provide healthcare in rural regions of Brazil is that clinicians who do live in remote areas often have limited access to collaboration technologies, which may leave them unable to virtually connect with medical peers who have the specialized expertise they need access to.
But despite challenges, 40 patients were able to benefit from telehealth consultations in the initial pilot. According to the report, the program is now ready to support more consultations and will expand to serve hundreds of patients in 2015.
“The results of this new report show us that bringing telehealth technology to Sergipe can make what may have seemed impossible before possible. Cisco is proud to help bring pediatric care to Sergipe via Cisco telehealth technology so children have enhanced access to the quality healthcare they need to stay healthy,” said Brantz Myers, Senior Manager for Global Healthcare Solutions for Cisco Corporate Affairs.
“One of the major tasks of Brazilian public universities is returning its focus to society’s larger issues: evaluating and addressing solutions. This contribution to social development is only possible when scientific knowledge organized within the classrooms is available to the community. We believe that the partnership we have built with Cisco expands our reach in the community, as we are managing to cope with historical difficulties of our society with the aid of technology,” Angelo Antoniolli, Dean of the Federal University of Sergipe.
Connected Healthy Children – Brazil: Four Key Goals
The Connected Health Children – Brazil pilot program was officially launched February 18, 2014.
To successfully launch the Connected Healthy Children – Brazil pilot program in the state of Sergipe, Cisco concentrated on four key goals:
- Enable increased access to pediatric care through Cisco collaboration technology such as Cisco® TelePresence™, Cisco WebEx®, Cisco Show and Share®, Cisco Jabber®, Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), and Cisco Extended Care
- Physician -to-patient consultations using generalist to specialist collaboration to improve access to healthcare specialists for patients and families
- Physician-to-physician collaboration to improve decision making in remote and rural communities by gaining insights and advice from experts in healthcare centers of excellence
- Continuing medical education (CME) to improve education, training and awareness for care teams and members of the community
Preliminary Survey Results:
To conduct the research, Cisco surveyed between 26 and 30 patients about their experiences with the telehealth system. Key findings from the report are as followed:
- One-hundred percent of patients surveyed said they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their virtual consultation.
- Ninety-three present of patients surveyed and who participated in virtual consultations found them effective and were satisfied with their experience.
- Ninety-six percent of patients said that using technology during consultations has reduced the amount of time they need to travel to get access to specialized care and that the overall cost burden on their family has been reduced due to the use of Telepresence at their clinic.
- Ninety-two percent of patients agree that the use of Cisco Telepresence at their local clinic has improved their quality of care and would recommend Telehealth to other family members.
Bridging the Children’s Healthcare Gap
Cisco determined that Brazil would be a good fit for a Connected Healthy Children implementation. This program, which has already proved successful in pilots in the United States and China’s Sichuan Province, utilizes technology to improve the accessibility and quality of pediatric health services, while also enhancing collaboration and cultivating medical expertise. After a thorough evaluation, the State of Sergipe was selected as a suitable location for the program.
The pilot program Connected Healthy Children – Brazil will officially conclude later in April 2015, after which the Federal University of Sergipe will take the pilot into production deployment and oversee the program moving forward.
Full Report: Connecting Brazil’s Children to a Healthier Future
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