Penn Medicine Opens Up Telehealth Hub | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Penn Medicine Opens Up Telehealth Hub

February 16, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine has opened its Center for Connected Care to centralize the health system’s telemedicine activities.

According to officials in an announcement this week, “Connected Care telemedicine programs use advanced approaches and technologies to serve a wide variety of patient populations without having to travel to Philadelphia.” This includes Penn Medicine’s almost 15-year-old Penn E-lert eICU for the critically ill, a tele-homecare service for the chronically ill, as well as a telemedicine service linking obstetricians to trauma surgeons caring for critically injured pregnant women, and a tele-urgent care service which eliminates the need for physical visits in some cases.

The Center for Connected Care also houses the Home Telehealth program, which provides post-hospitalization remote monitoring for more than 160 patients each month in their homes. Often, this work employs a concept known as “automated hovering,” which combines new technologies such as wireless devices that can track patients’ vital signs and other indicators with new reimbursement strategies that hold providers more accountable for keeping recently hospitalized patients from being readmitted. Penn Medicine officials note that this program has successfully reduced readmissions by 35 percent in a medically complex patient population.

Penn Medicine was one of the first healthcare systems to invest in telemedicine when the Penn E-lert eICU was first launched. The unit provides 24/7 coverage by using two-way video and audio technology to monitor patients who are, for instance, at risk of falls or sepsis, and alerts for on-site providers to act fast when help is needed. Now, the service covers more than 250 critical care beds across the health system.

In sum, the center looks to address the ever-growing demand for telehealth services. Located at Penn Medicine Rittenhouse in center city Philadelphia, it is the largest telehealth center in the region and one of the largest telehealth hubs in the country, officials attest. The center will have 50 full-time employees who will work to support patients 24/7 as well other Penn Medicine staff in a variety of settings across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

What’s more, Penn Medicine also provides tele-medical specialty services in fields such as transplant services, dermatology, ophthalmology, radiology, adolescent and young adult medicine, sleep medicine, and complex neurological conditions to patients at a regional, national, and international level. Other tele-medical specialty services include post-operative surgical visits in various specialties as well as hematology oncology consultations and veteran’s mental health services.

And, an additional suite of programs provide specialized, academic medical center-based services to patients who live outside Penn Medicine’s typical service region. For example, a tele-genetics program through Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center provides genetic counseling for patients living with or at-risk of inherited conditions via remote video conferencing.

“Patients today increasingly expect to engage with healthcare providers with the same clickable convenience as buying holiday gifts online or ordering a ride-sharing service from their phone,” Penn Medicine’s CMIO, C. William Hanson, III, M.D., said in a statement.

2018 Philadelphia Health IT Summit

Renowned leaders in U.S. and North American healthcare gather throughout the year to present important information and share insights at the Healthcare Informatics Health IT Summits.

May 21 - 22, 2018 | Philadelphia



Research: Precision Medicine May Improve Survival in Late-Stage Cancer, Lower Costs

A precision medicine study conducted by researchers from Intermountain Precision Genomics and Stanford University School of Medicine indicates that precision oncology may improve overall survival and lower healthcare costs for advanced cancer patients.

Study: Researchers Use EHR Data to Predict Future Chronic Opioid Use

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus are working to develop statistical models to better predict which patients will be prescribed opioid medications long-term following discharge from a hospital stay.

ONC Avoids 2018 Budget Cuts in New Spending Bill

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) funding for 2018 will hold steady through September, at $60 million, as part of a House spending bill that was passed on Thursday.

Global Survey: Nearly Half of Physicians are Not Aware of Blockchain Technology

A survey, conducted by SERMO of 3,700 physicians across the globe, found that nearly half (47 percent) of polled physicians said that they were not aware of blockchain technology.

Wyoming Department of Health to Form Statewide HIE

Wyoming Department of Health plans to form a statewide, medical community-owned health information exchange (HIE), called the Wyoming Frontier Information Exchange (WYFI).

Four Organizations Plan to Form National Health IT Safety Collaborative

Four healthcare- and patient safety-focused organizations have indicated plans to establish a national health IT safety collaborative and are urging the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to support their efforts.