PHILADELPHIA – Penn Medicine recently launched one of the largest telehealth hubs in the country to centralize the health system’s virtual activities and to address a growing demand for accessible services.
The new Penn Medicine Center for Connected Care comprises a Home Telehealth program, the Penn E-lert eICU for critically ill patients, a telemedicine service for critically injured pregnant women, a tele-urgent care service and many other connected health programs and services.
“We’re bringing the highest level of care to the greatest number of people,” said Dr. William Hanson, chief medical information officer for Penn Medicine.
The health system’s Home Telehealth program provides post-hospitalization remote monitoring to more than 150 patients each month in their own homes. It involves “automated hovering,” which combines wireless devices and other technologies to track a patient’s vital signs with new reimbursement strategies to keep patients from being readmitted. It has successfully reduced hospital readmissions by about 35%.
Penn’s E-lert eICU was launched about 15 years ago as a complement to traditional hospital bedside care. It uses two-way video and audio technology to monitor patients who could be at risk of a fall or sepsis, and alerts caregivers when intervention is needed. Today the service covers more than 250 critical care beds across the health system.
Hanson said the new telehealth hub is part of the health system’s strategic growth, connecting clinicians in different hospitals and paving the way for real-time care of critically ill patients to the expansion of its home care services.
The Center for Connected Care is staffed by 50 full-time employees and is located at Penn Medicine Rittenhouse, serving patients from across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.