BEIJING, China - April 11, 2012 – Cisco and Peking University today jointly released a report titled "Transforming Healthcare through Collaboration - Impact Assessment of ‘Connecting Sichuan' Healthcare Program", which details features of the Cisco® "Connecting Sichuan" healthcare program and its relevance as a model for China's healthcare reform. The report is a collaborative effort led by Peking University with contributions from scholars from Harvard University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Professor Gordon Liu (Liu Guoen) of Peking University delivered a summary report during the press conference to leaders and medical experts from Peking University, the Chinese Medical Association, Sichuan Province Department of Health and local governments from areas including Chengdu, Wenchuan and Shifang. Kathy English, global senior director of Cisco Healthcare and Public Sector Marketing, and Dr. Yu Yi, managing director of Cisco Corporate Affairs, were also in attendance for the official launch of the report.
After the major earthquake that hit Wenchuan in Sichuan Province on May 12, 2008, Cisco, the world's leading networking solutions provider immediately formed an exceptional public-private partnership with the Chinese government to engage in the post-quake rebuilding efforts with support from local and regional government organizations as well as non-governmental partners. Together they launched a three-year corporate social responsibility program—"Connecting Sichuan"—with a total goal of over US$50 million (or over RMB 300 million) designed to help with the rebuilding efforts. The plan was to apply Cisco's leading information and communications technology to improve the quality and capacity of healthcare in Sichuan, especially in regards to alleviating the urban-rural healthcare gap. The "Connecting Sichuan" program follows the guidance of the "Healthy China 2020" healthcare reform, and is a pilot program for improving healthcare services through the implementation of collaboration and cloud technologies.
The report was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of key "Connecting Sichuan" healthcare initiatives implemented on a network-based health collaboration platform. The study focuses on two key solution categories: collaborative technologies (including telehealth and intrahospital collaboration) and the regional healthcare cloud. To analyze the effectiveness of the program, experts and scholars from fields including public health, economics and medicine selected three population areas that represent a variety of economic and demographic profiles and existing healthcare infrastructure: Wenchuan, Shifang and Chengdu. The investigation team visited 28 medical institutions where they conducted one-on-one interviews with 27 hospital presidents, 43 doctors and more than 200 patients. Primary research was augmented by secondary research that included patient case studies, reviews of publicly released data, and reports from hospitals and health bureaus.
The report concludes that the "Wenchuan Model", which promotes collaboration and the integration of hospital resources within the local region, has been a viable example for solving the problems that grassroots healthcare reform faces in China. Under the program, different levels of healthcare service providers may collaborate to improve the quality of care to patients. For example, Wenchuan People's Hospital, which is a secondary-level hospital, is able to transcend its previous missions and evolve to become a "center of collaboration" within the region, playing a key role in integrating primary-and-tertiary-level healthcare providers to offer a continuum of care for patients. With the healthcare collaboration technology and cloud platform, doctors at Wenchuan People's Hospital can receive guidance from experts located at Sichuan People's Hospital and West China Hospital, and can also provide support to the 13 township health centers in Wenchuan.
The report also stated that, the integrated system improves the quality of healthcare overall despite the limitation of medical resources in remote areas, enhances hospital management efficiency, allows patients to enjoy better outcomes at a reasonable cost, and broadens accessibility to care. Doctors and healthcare service providers from remote areas are trained by healthcare professionals in the city. In addition, patients are satisfied and see value in the integrated health services provided by mobile clinics, which complement and extend the coverage of healthcare services in remote regions. "Connecting Sichuan" has significantly advanced the ICT infrastructure and applications in the province, and the regional ICT management capabilities are now recognized for reaching standards at the advanced national level.
Professor Gordon Liu said, "‘Connecting Sichuan' brought about the ‘Wenchuan Model' for the healthcare reform, which is sustainable, replicable and scalable. This model is aligned with the healthcare reform that China is pushing forward. The success of this model can continue to serve as a strong reference for pilots that include the use of telemedicine in areas such as Midwestern China as well as the automation of community-level hospitals throughout the country."
Dr. Yu Yi, managing director of Cisco Corporate Affairs, added, "We are very pleased and honored to receive such great recognition from the experts. Practice has proven that collaborative networks and cloud applications have a very positive impact on improving the quality of local healthcare services and enhancing efficiency of hospital management. Cisco will continue to research, develop and promote ICT applications in healthcare reform. We hope what we have done for the hospitals in Sichuan can also be replicated in other parts of China to benefit more people."
2012 marks the third year since China has embarked on its healthcare reform program. It is also the first year of the healthcare system reform under the 12th Five-Year Plan which has endorsed the shift toward community care, regional health, and telemedicine. Cisco's "Connecting Sichuan" program excels at all of these levels and will serve as a replicable and scalable reference model for healthcare reform and innovation in China.
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