Establishing ICU Virtual Health

The Allegheny Health Network (AHN) https://www.ahn.org and Highmark Health are partnering with Mercy Virtual, https://www.mercyvirtual.net/vicu, a subsidiary of the St. Louis-based Mercy Health System, to establish an innovative telehealth model. This model is expected to improve the delivery of critical care services in communities across western Pennsylvania.

The state-of-the-art telecommunication and remote patient monitoring technology located in each ICU room at AHN’s Allegheny Valley, Canonsburg, Jefferson, and Saint Vincent Hospitals, will use board-certified intensivists based at Mercy’s Virtual Care Center to interact with AHN clinical staff 24/7

Patient vital signs are continuously monitored by Mercy Virtual clinicians via secure, encrypted connections, while the program’s two way high definition cameras are only activated during patient observations by the Mercy Virtual clinicians and during their engagement with the onsite clinical teams.

Mercy Virtual’s ICU (vICU) when integrated with bedside care, has led to 35 percent lower mortality rates and a 30 percent reduction in time spent in the ICU compared to predicted length of stay according to Vance Moore, President, for Mercy Virtual Business Integration. AHN will implement the vICUs at four community hospitals over the next 12 months beginning with Jefferson Hospital in fall 2019.

In total, the Virtual Care Center’s more than 300 clinicians provide services to more than 40 hospitals. In addition to vICU, the Center provides telehealth services for stroke, pediatrics, and emergency care plus other solutions.

Virtual ICU collaboration is the latest component of AHN’s portfolio of telehealth services as the network and Highmark Health continues to focus on providing the region with more patient-centered value driven healthcare options. AHN is also in the process of providing greater access in the community to specialized services, to include psychiatry, neurology, dermatology, infectious disease, neonatal care and more.

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