Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and Highmark Health has signed a partnership agreement with Mercy Virtual to establish an innovative telehealth model that will enhance the delivery of critical care services in communities across western Pennsylvania. A subsidiary of the St. Louis-based health system Mercy, Mercy Virtual is a leader in the development and delivery of telehealth solutions to hospitals around the country.
24/7 ICU Patient Care Support
Through state-of-the-art telecommunication and remote patient monitoring technology located in each ICU room at AHN’s Allegheny Valley, Canonsburg, Jefferson, and Saint Vincent Hospitals, board-certified intensivists based at Mercy’s Virtual Care Center will seamlessly interact and collaborate with AHN clinical staff to provide an additional layer of 24/7 ICU patient care support.
Patient vital signs are continuously monitored by Mercy Virtual clinicians via secure, encrypted connections, while the program’s two-way high-definition cameras are only activated during patient observations by the Mercy Virtual clinicians and during their engagement with the onsite clinical teams.
Mercy Virtual’s virtual ICU Program Outcomes
Mercy Virtual’s virtual ICU (vICU) program, when integrated with bedside care, has led to 35 percent lower mortality rates and a 30 percent reduction in time spent in the ICU compared to predicted length of stay, according to Vance Moore, President, Mercy Virtual – Business Integration.
AHN will progressively implement the vICU program at its four community hospitals over the next 12 months, beginning with Jefferson Hospital in the fall of 2019. Jefferson will also, serve as a program training site for subsequent hospitals coming on board.
AHN’s Growing Portfolio of Telehealth Services
Virtual ICU collaboration is just the latest component of AHN’s growing portfolio of telehealth services as the network and Highmark Health continue to focus on providing the region with more patient-centered, value-driven health care options. Telemedicine is also being leveraged by AHN to provide greater access in the community to its specialized services, such as psychiatry, neurology, dermatology, infectious disease, neonatal care, and more.
“Over the last several years, telemedicine has been a key component of our strategy for getting health care right and providing the best possible experiences for our patients and their families. Mercy Virtual has created an extraordinary model that we are excited to implement to provide critically ill patients with high-quality care, from the comfort and convenience of the hospital that is closest to home,” said Cynthia Hundorfean, President and CEO, AHN.
To date, Mercy Virtual’s 300 clinicians provide services to more than 40 hospitals. In addition to vICU, the Center provides telehealth services for stroke, pediatrics and emergency care, among other solutions.
“Partnering with like-minded providers who are interested in creating a team-based approach to delivering the right level of care, driven by evidence-based medicine, in a proactive, patient-centric manner is what our leaders envisioned over a decade ago when they first invested in virtual care. It is our great fortune to bring that to reality,” said J. Gavin Helton, MD, President, Mercy Virtual – Clinical Integration.