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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09CHENGDU155 2009-08-17 11:02:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Chengdu
Cable title:  

NEW TELEMEDICINE CENTER AIMS TO EXPAND QUAKE ZONE HEALTHCARE

Tags:   ECON SOCI CH 
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1. (U) This cable contains sensitive but unclassified
information - not for distribution on the Internet.





2. (SBU) Introduction and Summary: In the aftermath of the
massive, May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, ConGen Chengdu has
closely monitored disaster reconstruction and response efforts,
including attempts by U.S. firms to build goodwill through
in-kind donations and technical assistance. In this context,
Pol/Econoff recently learned about Sichuan Province's first
video teleconferencing telemedicine system, which links to both
other hospitals and remote mobile units, and has been installed
by U.S-based Cisco Systems at the Sichuan First Provincial
Hospital. Rapidly deployable mobile units will enable medical
personnel in the field to quickly and efficiently share
information. Cisco will donate USD 44 million worth of
equipment and services over a three-year period for cooperative
healthcare and education projects with the Sichuan Provincial
Health Bureau. Cisco plans to establish telecommunications
links to several additional hospitals, expand the current pilot
project to the First Provincial Hospital's earthquake
rehabilitation center, and incorporate additional mobile health
vehicles. Effective training and long-term funding will be
critical to the system's success. End Introduction and Summary.



A Post-Quake Public-Private Partnership



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3. (U) In July 2008, Cisco Systems and the Sichuan Provincial
Government signed a memorandum of understanding initiating the
"Connecting Sichuan" program, described on Cisco's website as "a
three-year public-private partnership to aid the rebuilding
effort, with a focus on improving healthcare and education in
earthquake-damaged areas." Under the healthcare and education
initiatives, Cisco is piloting new systems that it hopes will be
replicable on a wider scale. Cisco's report on the first year
of the partnership is available online at:
http://tinyurl.com/sichuan-cisco.



Telemedicine Technology Launched at Sichuan First Provincial
Hospital



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4. (SBU) The pilot "Health Presence" site (HPS), located at the
First Provincial Hospital in Chengdu, includes a
videoconferencing system that links hospitals with each other as
well as to truck-based treatment rooms. Sichuan Provincial
Hospital HPS site is now linked to the Prince of Wales Hospital
in Hong Kong. The HPS system supports twenty simultaneous
telephone conversations and video conferences simultaneously on
three monitors, either through the Internet or satellite links.






5. (SBU) By October 2009, Cisco plans to add Sichuan's Ninth
Provincial Hospital to the network of medical centers linked to
the Sichuan Provincial Hospital. A Cisco employee said that the
Ninth Provincial Hospital would have cameras located in patient
treatment rooms so that specialists in the HPS will be able to
observe and advise during medical procedures. Sichuan's Third
and Tenth Provincial Hospitals will also join the network before
the project is completed in July 2011. Mobile health vehicles
described below will be deployable to rural quake-hit areas and
other areas of medical need.



Mobile Telecom-Equipped Units Convey Expert Advice to Rural
Health Providers



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CHENGDU 00000155 002.2 OF 002




6. (SBU) CNA, a Singaporean company, is working with Cisco to
build the mobile health vehicles at a cost of slightly less than
3 million RMB (440,000 USD) per vehicle. The vehicles are built
in Nanjing on an Isuzu truck platform that weighs roughly 7 tons
depending on the final configuration. Cisco and hospital staff
gave Congenoffs an informal tour of the first vehicle, which is
already in operation and has been deployed several times for
non-emergency use in the quake zone. The vehicle has a patient
treatment room and small conference area. Cameras in the
meeting and treatment areas can link back to the HPS either by a
wired Internet connection or a satellite dish with microwave
transceiver mounted on the roof. An employee of CNA told
Congenoffs that the satellite communication will be routed
through a Thai satellite.





7. (SBU) The vehicles also have an externally-mounted camera
that can be used to provide real-time video of disaster areas to
workers at the HPS. Cisco and CNA plan to build several
additional vehicles by mid-2011, each with a dedicated function.
A second vehicle like the one described above is now in Beijing
for demonstration purposes. Additional vehicles planned include
two "emergency command center" models-that will have an
emergency communications center instead of a patient treatment
room-and one "health checkup" vehicle. This one will be based
at a hospital currently under construction in Wenchuan, near the
quake's epicenter. At least one of the additional vehicles will
carry X-ray and ultrasound equipment.



Project Could Face Long-term Sustainability Challenges



--------------------------



--------------------------







8. (SBU) Cisco has committed to providing three-years of pro
bono post-installation maintenance service for all equipment
donated under the "Connecting Sichuan" program, after which the
hospitals involved will bear all related costs. One Cisco
contact noted that from a budgetary stand point, this will be
"no problem" for the hospitals as they are well funded.
However, he noted that Cisco has encountered significant
resistance to accepting their donated equipment among some
hospital officials. Many hospital officials are accustomed to
receiving large kickbacks from medical equipment contracts, he
said, and donated equipment cuts into this income source. In
the long-term, how this will translate into support for
maintaining the system remains to be seen.





9. (SBU) Comment: During equipment demonstrations, which
included separately conferencing Hong Kong and the mobile health
vehicle connected via a wired LAN, representatives seemed
unfamiliar with the equipment. Connecting to Hong Kong took
several minutes. The connection to the vehicle worked well, but
the operator did not know how to switch to a camera located in
the patient room. As the number of linked facilities and
vehicles increases, the effectiveness of the training employees
get to use the technology will probably determine the overall
success of the project.
BROWN