Cisco is using its HealthPresence telemedicine system in new programs in Southern California and the Southwest to "compete with other major tech companies, including Intel, IBM and General Electric, in the growing market for health-care products and services," The San Jose Mercury News/The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer
reports. The systems are "also part of Cisco's broader strategy to promote and participate in wider use of digital video across numerous segments of daily life — which can increase demand for Cisco's core business of selling the networking equipment that carries those digital signals around the globe." The concept is gaining ground as providers try to serve people who live in remote areas at a lower cost. "Industry officials say video systems can help address a growing shortfall in the number of medical students choosing to become primary care doctors. One study by the Frost & Sullivan research firm estimated that the market for telemedicine products and services in North America would grow from $900 million in 2007 to $6.1 billion in 2012." One obstacle to the systems' use includes strict licensing rules that can affect reimbursement from insurers or Medicare for using the systems (Bailey, 4/22).