CRN Exclusive: WWT, Asynchrony Team Up With Cisco To Offer IoT Prescription For Virtual Hospital

Cisco, World Wide Technology, and WWT's Asynchrony Labs have teamed up to create an IoT solution for healthcare organization Mercy Virtual – the first ever completely virtual hospital.

Mercy Virtual, which delivers telehealth services, approached World Wide Technology and Cisco with a problem – they wanted a way to reach more patients in more locations, from those in rural cooperative hospitals across the country to bed-bound patients in their homes.

"We sat down with Mercy and found that their mission is about delivering outcomes and reaching folks that need their care," said Tom Johnson, managing consultant for healthcare and higher education at World Wide Technology. "Mercy wanted to reach those areas where they don't have large enough hospitals, but a population that still needs to be served. With the emergence of IoT and available sensors, the technology is there today to start delivering innovative solutions for healthcare."

[Related: Q&A: HPE Executive Tom Bradicich On New Software-Defined OT Platform And Why HPE Is A Pioneer In The IoT Market]

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Since the seeds of the project were first planted around five years ago, the team has worked together to design a solution that used digital tools to provide expert medical teams with an enhanced view of their patients, regardless of the location.

"These hospitals need a partner like WWT and Asynchrony to anticipate where the market's going and build a business platform enabling them to be very nimble for change," said Johnson. "We joined along with Asynchrony and Mercy Virtual to build the infrastructure and robust data network enabling concentrated physicians and nurses to interact in real time with patients in hospitals and homes."

Using Mercy's virtual hospital, a chronic bed-bound patient can now check in with his doctor a few times a day through a video with two-way cameras. The patient may be using a wearable or connected device so that doctors can keep tabs on his health-related data. If the patient uses the connected scale, for example, the doctor can see that his weight has gone up three pounds in three days, said Johnson.

The platform connects more than 600 Mercy Virtual co-workers with more than 500,000 patients using video, connected devices, and software. World Wide Technology provided integrated predictive analytics, security, video, Cisco’s network infrastructure and contact center software for the solution.

Meanwhile, Asynchrony Labs, the custom software development branch of the WWT Advanced Technology Center ecosystem, provided application development and application integration services to streamline Mercy Virtual's business model.

Within a year of introducing the virtual care center, WWT said Mercy Virtual has seen a 50 percent reduction in preventable re-admissions for its virtual patients, and 35 percent fewer days spent in the hospital with virtual care.

Moving forward, World Wide Technology, Asynchrony Labs and Cisco will continue to work with Mercy Virtual to improve the virtual hospital platform as part of an "ongoing vision."

"We're continuing to build out the platform to broaden the types of virtual care and the types of organizations that can be supported," said Bob Elfanbaum, vice president and general manager of WWT Asynchrony Labs. "These solutions are meaningful because they have the potential to change the quality of people's lives. We're already seeing incredible outcomes."