Cisco & Presidio Behind Telehealth to North Carolina Prisons

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Cisco & Presidio deliver telehealth and remote learning solution for North Carolina Department of Adult Correction

During lockdown, telehealth solutions became vital for populations everywhere – and not just in towns and cities, but also prisons.

Traditionally, prisoners with a health issue are escorted under guard to an external healthcare facility, which was not an option during the pandemic.

To meet the health needs of those in 54 prisons, the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction (DAC) introduced a telehealth service that is now firmly established, hugely successful, and to date has saved the state $20 million.

The trusted vendor partners involved in its provision were the multinational digital communications technology conglomerate, Cisco – whose HQ is in North Carolina – and also its deployment partner Presidio, which specialises in designing, implementing and managing digital platforms.

At the heart of the telehealth solution is Cisco Webex, the enterprise video conferencing solution, whose collaboration tools facilitate communication and learning.

As well as giving inmates access to telehealth appointments, the solution is also used for video visitations and court appearances. North Carolina was spending an exorbitant amount of money on prisoner healthcare visits, because of the support staff needed for security and safeguarding on health-related visits. The Webex-based solution has to date saved the state a total of $20 million, and counting.

Meghan Steele is Public Sector VP at Cisco, and says So Presidio was a critical partner in allowing it and DAC to creatively overcome the challenges of installing technology in a correctional facility.

“Correctional facilities are a lot of concrete, which is not great for setting up any kind of network environment,” says Meghan. “Then there’s the question of safety concerns over gaining access to certain areas.

She says that Presidio “was critical in allowing us to creatively overcome those challenges”.  

As well as facilitating telehealth provision, there was also a strong educational element to Cisco’s involvement with DAC, in the guise of Hope University, an initiative whose purpose is to provide offenders with education and job-skill opportunities.

Meghan says: “It helps offenders make a successful re-entry to society.”

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