University of Maryland Medical System

Cisco Customer Experience transforms a hospital network to help with its response to the global health crisis.

Industry: Healthcare

Company size: 28,000 employees, 13 hospitals

Location: Maryland


Customer objectives

  • Rapidly set up systems so healthcare staff could work remotely.

  • Maintain the highest levels of care during the historic health crisis.

  • Develop new and efficient ways of seeing and treating patients.


Cisco solutions

  • Cisco Webex DX80s collaboration displays for command center

  • Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches to expand the healthcare footprint

  • Cisco Webex and Cisco Jabber for telemedicine solution

Business outcomes

  • 28,000 employees were connected to the network in just five days.

  • Field hospitals are connected to main hospitals via secure VPN.

  • Doctors can now consult with patients via a telemedicine solution.

Cisco CX enables rapid deployment of telemedicine and collaboration


The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is a university-based regional health care system focused on serving the health care needs of citizens throughout Maryland. One of the largest private employers in the state, its 28,000 employees and 4000 physicians provide primary and specialty care across more than 150 locations and at 13 hospitals.

When the global health crisis emerged, the UMMS leadership team had to move quickly to support the needs of the hospital system, as well as the Maryland community. UMMS trusted the Cisco Customer Experience (CX) team, which brought its in-depth understanding of UMMS and proven best practices to respond to the crisis. Working closely with UMMS and its technology partners, Cisco developed a set of solutions to meet the needs of the health system through procurement of new products, deployment of new technologies, and tailored adoption planning for optimal end user experiences.

Business challenge and results summary


Like most healthcare organizations, UMMS depends on its network infrastructure to deliver healthcare services to patients and support its own operations. The global health crisis created unprecedented challenges for the organization's CTO and IT team. UMMS had to shift its work model to support 28,000 employees working remotely. The organization also had to scale its system rapidly to accommodate thousands of new beds and develop new ways of seeing and treating patients. The stakes were high, and even a short delay could impact patient outcomes in life-or-death situations.

A longtime Cisco customer, UMMS depended on the Cisco Customer Experience team to help keep its healthcare functioning at its best, even as it dramatically reworked its operations to mobilize its healthcare workforce and respond to the crisis. Cisco Customer Experience pulled together a set of teams from across Cisco, including its sales organization, business units, and multiple technology partners—all working as one strategic unit. 

Together, the Cisco teams developed and deployed five key solutions in approximately 10 days.

Enabling strategic communications and planning


An executive incident command solution connects the top 135 medical leaders across the hospital system, including incident commanders, chief medical officers, and other key healthcare and response professionals. Cisco deployed more than 150 Cisco Webex DX80 all-in-one collaboration displays designed for the desktop. These powerful collaboration solutions are specifically designed to facilitate the next level of communication in a distributed workforce. To support rapid adoption, Cisco also developed quick-start guides for at-home setup and enablement.

Even with the accelerated deployment timeline, Cisco has received feedback that its Webex deployment was among the smoothest technology rollouts that end users can remember at UMMS.

"Cisco WebEx has been one of the best new application rollouts that I've experienced at SJMC in the past ten years," said Pam Cerrato, Exec Admin, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. "Excellent communication, multiple and in-depth training sessions, immediate response to questions…I could go on and on."

Cisco WebEx has been one of the best new application rollouts that I've experienced at SJMC in the past 10 years.

Pam Cerrato,
Executive Adminisrtator, University of Maryland St

Expanding the healthcare footprint in the field


To support a soaring number of patients, Cisco Customer Experience and its teams provided guidance to the hospital system to establish triage tents and emergency temporary hospital deployments. The organization redirection Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches from a new hospital building to provide support for COVID-19 patients. Cisco helped UMMS stand up networks and security to support the convention center, the previously decommissioned Laurel Hospital, and between more than six hotels to provide emergency care.

Supporting a newly mobile healthcare workforce


In just five days UMMS also migrated its entire workforce of more than 28,000 employees to work from home. Cisco CX created Quick Start Guides around Webex, hosted training events with hundreds of employees, and worked with both IT and department heads to enable employees for video conferencing to maintain business operations to support their hospital system. The Webex Customer Success team also played a key role in supporting rapid deployment of the solution.

Telemedicine brings patients and doctors together, and keeps them apart


A telemedicine solution supported care providers, and also enabled virtual family visits. Leveraging Cisco Webex DX80s, iPads, and some Cisco IP Phone 8650 video phones, the solution supports communication between patient and doctors in quarantined and nonquarantined areas. Cisco Jabber on iPads makes it easy for physicians and family to communicate with quarantined patients and reduce use of personal protective equipment (PPE). The solution lets healthcare providers offer virtual consultations for patients at home, and enables nurses to make their rounds and collaborate with physicians remotely—all to to limit exposure to the virus.

Cisco teams worked together to develop the solution and guide the customer and partners throughout the deployment. They also helped build buy-in from hospital sites and created instructions to enable family and external clinicians to join a virtual visit. Initial feedback from the virtual visitation rooms has been highly positive and increasing numbers of patients are using the solution.

Sharing information and providing peace of mind for the community


To help keep the community informed, Cisco also supported the launch of town hall meetings. These online events were designed to educate and provide guidance for hospital-wide and external Maryland community events. Using CX Webcasting Services, the solution provided a hosted telecasting service to support the UMMS Chief Medical Officer's broadcast to the Maryland public. The events provided the community with updates on the health crisis helping citizens connect with experts and foster a sense of calm.

In a time of uncertainty, UMMS trusted Cisco Experience to help manage the patients, providers, and families impacted by the health crisis. Together, Cisco and UMMS are continuing to move forward to overcome continuing challenges in the days to come.

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