UPMC invests in Vivify population health technology

Deal puts focus on mobile population health, chronic care management.
By Bernie Monegain
07:55 AM

UPMC Enterprises, the commercial arm of the Pittsburgh-based UPMC health system, has become both a customer and an investor of Vivify Health, a Plano, Texas-based company that promises to break down the walls when it comes to delivering care.

Neither UPMC nor Vivify would disclose how much UPMC invested in the company.

Vivify Health's technology is in play at some of the largest health systems in the country. The technology is deployed by 500 hospitals and payer organizations to manage, monitor and engage patient populations of all sizes and risk levels, executives said.

[Also: UPMC, Health Catalyst partner to bring cost-management tool to market]

"Health plans and providers are laser focused on population health management right now but they're struggling to take the vital step of engaging patients in a way that makes it easy for patients," said Eric Rock, CEO of Vivify.

Vivify was founded in 2009. According to Rock, it was the first company to offer a cloud-based solution for mobile population health and chronic care management using any consumer mobile device.

"We think it's the magic bullet that finally makes true population health management practical and easy for health plans, providers and consumers," he said.

Tal Heppenstall, president of UPMC Enterprises, agreed.

"As a health system – particularly an integrated health system, it's in the best interest of our patients, and it's in our best interest to keep them out of the hospital," he said.

[Also: Remote health monitoring pegged at 3 million users by 2016]

UPMC will work on two use cases involving congestive heart failure and the UPMC health plan. UPMC plans to monitor the patients remotely, avoiding hospital admission or emergency room visits.

One of the ways to reduce the cost of healthcare, Heppenstal said, is to reduce the need for patients to go to hospitals. The trend is for more care outside the hospital.

"We want to be on the leading edge of it," he said. "We prefer to make it happen as opposed to have it happen to us."

As he sees it, the deal with Vivify may be an investment, but it is also "a partnership – a commercialization opportunity – for us to take their product and make it useful not only to UPMC, but also to make a product that other health systems use."

It's very similar to the approach UPMC has taken with data warehousing firm Health Catalyst, where UPMC has both invested in the company and worked with the vendor to develop new software aimed at improving clinical outcomes.

"After an extensive evaluation of a number of companies, Vivify Health clearly stood out to us as the one best aligned to deliver patient-centered remote care across UPMC's integrated payer/provider system," Heppenstall says. "Backing this kind of innovation to solve critical healthcare problems is at the heart of our mission at UPMC Enterprises."

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Vivify Health technology enables insurance and provider organizations to conduct virtual care visits, communicate seamlessly with patients and members, and remotely monitor any patient population, such as those with chronic illnesses.

"Vivify's remote monitoring and communication technology is essential to making patients true partners in their care and providing the right services when and where they need them – increasingly at home," said Andrew Watson, MD, UPMC's medical director of telemedicine and vice president of UPMC International, in a statement.

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This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the HIMSS16 conference. Follow our live blog for real-time updates, and visit Destination HIMSS16 for a full rundown of our reporting from the show. For a selection of some of the best social media posts of the show, visit our Trending at #HIMSS16 hub.

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