Cleveland Clinic partnership aims to boost telemedicine services

StehoscopeThe Cleveland Clinic, through a new partnership announced this week with Cox Communications, is looking to improve in-home patient monitoring and treatment services.

For the project–dubbed Vivre Health–Cox will provide broadband services for video consultations, while Cleveland Clinic offers expertise on how to create the patient services.

“Healthcare transformation will be led by organizations that embrace innovation and collaboration,” Thomas Graham, chief innovation officer at Cleveland Clinic, said in the announcement. “This alliance will accelerate the creation, development and delivery of solutions that will improve and extend human life.”

Strong broadband services are going to be increasing necessary throughout the U.S. for healthcare as technologies advance and telemedicine use balloons.

Currently, many providers find their Internet speeds can’t keep up with increasing use of technology necessary to support such services. One example is Community Health Center of Middletown, Connecticut, which doesn’t have fast enough network speeds to create a seamless experience for users, Ed Bianco, CHC’s chief information officer, says in an article at HartfordBusiness.com.

The telemedicine project isn’t Cox’s only involvement with the healthcare industry. Cox already provides Internet and other services to hospitals, according to a Reuters article. Healthcare customers represent about 10 percent of its clients.

In addition to the Vivre Health project, Cox is already working with Cleveland Clinic on HealthSpot–walk in kiosks that allow patients to videoconference with physicians, according to the article.

The federal government is also working to support expanding broadband connections.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, speaking at September’s Consumer Health IT Summit in the District of Columbia, said her agency is doing its part to seize the opportunities presented by technology to improve healthcare.

“Broadband-enabled solutions can help communities better manage chronic diseases, address language barriers and improve health literacy,” she said. “It can put the consumer back into consumer health IT and enable engagement on an unprecedented scale.”

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