VA taps Philips for 10-year, potentially $100M telehealth critical care contract

The longtime partners will build out what they're calling the world's largest-ever remote intensive care system, as the VA is poised for a significant increase in IT funding.
By Mike Miliard
02:14 PM

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a major long-term contract to Philips to build out the VA’s tele-critical care infrastructure.

The 10-year agreement, which could total as much as $100 million, will see Philips innovating the VA's telehealth technology and services – including tele-ICU, remote patient monitoring, diagnostic imaging, sleep monitors and more – in what's being billed as "the world’s largest system to provide veterans remote access to intensive care."

The expansion of VA's existing telehealth capabilities – it delivered more than 2.5 million telehealth episodes in 2019 and expanded to 10,000 to 120,000 virtual visits per week during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic – will enables a co-located team of specially trained critical care physicians and nurses to remotely monitor patients in the ICU regardless of patient location.

The VA currently manages 1,800 ICU beds nationwide. Broadening its tele-critical care infrastructure offers its patients wider access to specialists. Philips points to research showing that patients in eICU settings spend less time in the ICU and have better outcomes, while family members are enabled to consult with clinicians remotely to support decision-making.

Philips has worked closely with the U.S. Departments of Defense Veterans Affairs for nearly 50 years, with more than half of VA hospitals deploying its imaging technology and more than one-third using Philips critical care systems. 

More than 20% of U.S. adult ICU beds are monitored 24/7 by a continuous demand model powered by Philips eICU Program, the company notes, which combines A/V technology, predictive analytics, data visualization and advanced reporting capabilities. Its Philips eCareManager technology uses advanced analytics and AI to synthesize patient data and deliver more actionable analytics insights and care coordination.

The new 10-year contract with Philips comes as the VA looks set to receive a major new increase in its IT funding.

FedScoop reports that the House Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee is poised to OK a new $4.9 billion VA budget for IT for next year – 12% more than in 2020.

Much of that will go toward the VA's massive and ongoing EHR modernization, of course, but it will also help fund its broad expansion of telehealth services.

"VA’s relationship with Philips will help to expand and improve our tele-critical care program,” said Robert Wilkie, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in a statement. "This is particularly critical to provide Veterans access to quality health care when and where they need it and for improving their health outcomes."

"By connecting advanced telehealth technologies, clinical data, as well as clinicians, patients and their families, Philips can help VA make virtual care a reality and deliver quality health care for one of our most deserving communities: our nation’s veterans," added Vitor Rocha, chief market leader for Philips North America.

Actionable Intelligence

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Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
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