‘The sky’s the limit with telehealth,’ says exec
SALT LAKE CITY – Intermountain Healthcare has brought together more than 500 healthcare providers and 35 telehealth programs in a virtual hospital that provides medical care to patients anywhere, anytime.
“We’re connecting the dots for patients so they can get the care they need,” said Jim Sheets, vice president of outreach services at Intermountain Healthcare, a nonprofit health system with 22 hospitals, 1,600 physicians and 180 clinics. “Now they can get a whole picture of their health.”
Connect Care Pro builds on Intermountain’s existing Connect Care program, which began in 2016 through a partnership with telehealth technology company American Well. Connect Care Pro offers basic medical care, as well as advanced services like stroke evaluation and newborn critical care. In addition to Intermountain’s 22 hospitals, nine independent providers have also signed up to use the program.
Connect Care Pro is being housed in 20,000 square feet of existing hospital space that Sheets calls a “futuristic command center.” The space, which has no patient beds, includes rooms with large-screen video displays, “smart” white boards, conference rooms and computer systems to manage the telehealth technology.
“Our goal is to get the patients home,” Sheets said. “As technology advances, more health care will be delivered in the home and there are so many cool things you can with it.”
As part of the program, Intermountain Healthcare is also exploring a partnership with a Utah-based smart home technology provider to expand in-home care services.
“The sky’s the limit with telehealth,”he said.
Ultimately, Intermountain Healthcare aims to increase the number of patients treated virtually through Connect Care from 1% in 2017 to more than 40%.
“The growth of Connect Care Pro has been astounding, but we have more to do,” Sheets said.