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UPMC and Alcatel-Lucent develop telemedicine platform

UPMC and Alcatel-Lucent have signed an agreement to jointly develop a telemedicine platform and suite of applications that will enable patients to receive care even when they are far from doctors and hospitals. This newest collaboration builds on a relationship and co-development agreement dating back to 2006 between UPMC and Alcatel-Lucent.

The solution, expected to be ready for commercial launch in early 2013, will offer secure, real-time clinical encounters in a virtual “exam room” designed to fit the workflow of health care providers and the mobility of patients.  Using a secure Web portal, patients will have access to both scheduled and emergency care from any location at any time through a variety of mobile devices using real-time video and audio communication among multiple participants in multiple locations.  At the same time, the system will securely generate, retrieve and store patient data in a clinically relevant way.

“Advances in telecommunications technology and the widespread adoption of mobile devices have paved the way for eliminating the restrictions that bricks and mortar have placed on health care,” said Rebecca Kaul, president of UPMC’s Technology Development Center, who will co-manage the effort and help to oversee development teams in Pittsburgh and New Jersey. “By combining our clinical and technological expertise, UPMC and Alcatel-Lucent are poised to deliver on the promise of providing seamless care to patients that is only a click away.”

The platform is being developed along with Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s research arm, making use of advanced technologies such as immersive and cloud-based communications.

“The challenge involved in creating this next-generation telemedicine system is designing a true multi-point communication platform that allows everyone involved in the medical case to securely view the same data and medical records at the same time regardless of the communication device used,” said Sid Ahuja, Vice President of Alcatel-Lucent Ventures, who will co-manage the initiative. “With cloud-based technologies, services and software applications are delivered from the Internet rather than a dedicated enterprise network in a single location, enabling a new level of medical collaboration and information sharing via secure real-time audio, video and data links.”

UPMC will consolidate its extensive telemedicine offerings on the new platform, with the goal of lowering costs and improving access to high-quality care.  Since 1997, UPMC has expanded its use of telemedicine into 16 service lines, including stroke care, cardiology, pathology, dermatology and ophthalmology. Its telemedicine network encompasses 19 facilities, both within and outside of UPMC, including ISMETT, UPMC’s transplant centre in Italy, and UPMC Beacon Hospital in Ireland. UPMC also provides administrative support, business assistance and information technology services to hospitals, physicians and other medical professionals interested in telehealth services.

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