Intermountain creates a virtual hospital with telehealth tools and services

The Connect Care Pro program aims to reduce costs and length of stay for patients by extending medical services outside traditional hospital walls.
By Bernie Monegain
01:16 PM

Intermountain Healthcare in Murray, Utah. Photo via Google Maps

Intermountain Healthcare announced a new virtual hospital model built on telehealth technologies. 

Connect Care Pro is made up of 35 telehealth programs, some 500 caregivers and includes basic medical care as well as advanced services such as stroke evaluation, mental health counseling, intensive and newborn critical care. 

Nine hospitals – outside of the Intermountain system of 22 hospitals – have already established the service, which aims to reduce costs of care and length of stay. Intermountain also anticipates a reduction in mortality rates.

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Connect Care Pro supplements existing staff and provides specialized services in rural communities where available medical care might be scant.

An infant at a southern Utah hospital was being supported via Connect Care Pro services, for example, and received a critical care consultation that allowed the baby to stay in that facility instead of being transferred to a newborn intensive care unit in Salt Lake City.

This single avoided transfer would have cost more than $18,000 dollars, according to Intermountain Healthcare. Another upside is that the parents of the baby were able to remain in their community, surrounded by their support system, instead of traveling what would have amounted to 400 miles and seven hours round-trip every time they wanted to see their baby. 

Using this technology to reduce the need for transfers of ill newborns to other hospitals, Intermountain lowered the cost of care for patients by more than $2.1 million over several years, officials said.

Kane County Hospital, an independent rural facility in Kanab, Utah, is among the participants.  

“Our partnership with Intermountain Connect Care Pro has had a huge positive impact on our community,” Chief Nursing Officer Charlene Kelly said in a statement. 

Kelly noted that Kanab has had one of the highest suicide rates in the state. “Trying to place a patient who has not had a crisis evaluation was next to impossible,” she added.

All Intermountain Healthcare hospitals including 10 rural facilities use the offerings of the virtual hospital to add to their existing services, and nine hospitals outside the Intermountain Healthcare system have already signed up to provide high-level care and keep patients closer to home whenever possible.

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