UPMC launches telehealth startup to keep nursing home patients out of the hospital

Curavi Health offers tools that enable clinicians to remotely connect with patients via camera, Bluetooth stethoscope, digital otoscope and technologies.
By Bernie Monegain
03:11 PM

UPMC Enterprises announced a new upstart focused on preventing nursing home patients from needing to go a hospital emergency room.

Named Curavi Health, the emerging company has proprietary CuraviCare software, which facilitates interaction between the remote physician and the patient, is designed for ease of operation by nursing home staff and tailored to their workflow. The company’s CuraviCart, meanwhile, enables physicians to remotely interact with patients and nursing home staff through a pan/tilt/zoom camera, Bluetooth stethoscope, digital otoscope, document scanner and a 12-lead EKG system.

Curavi Health was conceived and created by geriatrician Steven Handler, MD, who has observed patients transferred unnecessarily taken to hospital emergency rooms because nurses could not get the right medical advice when they needed it.

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“Transfers to the emergency room, which frequently result in admission to the hospital, are highly disruptive to older adults and sometimes harmful to their health,” Handler said in a statement.

Handler also pointed out that avoidable hospitalizations are costing Medicare, private insurers and taxpayers billions of dollars every year.

Handler is chief medical and innovation officer at Curavi and also associate professor of geriatric medicine and director for geriatric telemedicine programs at the University of Pittsburgh.

The development and refining of the equipment, software and training for the initiative have been three years in the making.

Curavi has partnered with University of Pittsburgh Physicians, part of UPMC, to provide after-hours consults from fellowship-trained geriatricians.

Handler and his team have gleaned expertise with nursing homes and telemedicine over the past several years working with 17 non-UPMC nursing homes via Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Grant.

“Curavi Health is a great example of our focus at UPMC Enterprises: identifying and nurturing the innovative technologies and companies that will solve some of the toughest problems in healthcare,” Tal Heppenstall, president of UPMC Enterprises, said in a statement. "Entrepreneurs and innovators both inside and outside UPMC turn to UPMC Enterprises not only for capital, but also for access to the clinical, technological and business expertise," he added.

Helpful advice for planning to purchase a population health platform:

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