As part of an effort to educate older consumers about Connected Care, the nation’s first telehealth network, UnitedHealth Group brought its 18-wheel Connected Care mobile clinic to the AARP Orlando@50+ national convention and expo held earlier this month. The stop was the latest in a national mobile tour that launched in 2009 and has visited state capitols, customer locations and industry events.
Connected Care is a collaboration with Cisco that combines Cisco’s HealthPresence audio and video technology with UHG’s health care resources to expand physicians’ reach into rural, urban and other underserved areas. Connected Care also will make clinics available in the workplace, in retail locations such as pharmacies and potentially in homes.
The 18-wheeler showcases the technology and connectivity available through the network. In Orlando, attendees experienced a hypothetical demo as if they were visiting the doctor. They checked into the waiting room inside the trailer where, instead of reading magazines, they could log onto one of two computers to catch up on medical news and information. Next they moved on to the exam room and sat in front of the high-definition screen where a medical professional demonstrated how they could connect via Cisco’s telehealth technology with a physician who may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
“Telehealth has been around for a long time, but the technology has progressed to a point where the applications are greater and more viable today than they were years ago,” Daryl Richard, vp-public relations at UHG, told Buzz. “It was a chance for us to get out and educate care providers, policymakers, regulators and our customers to show how the technology works and to get them to start thinking with us about ways it could be applied to their different environments and work forces.”