MIDVALE – You could call it a hospital without beds.
Intermountain Healthcare launched its first virtual hospital called Connect Care Pro.
“We've been providing tele-medicine services for over five years, but a lot of those services are created in different parts of the organization,” said Jim Sheets, VP of Outreach Services at Intermountain Healthcare.
Medical teams will provide tele-health programs to all 21 Intermountain hospitals in Utah and Idaho.
Patients can receive more virtual care in areas such as critical care, stroke, tele-crisis and newborn critical care.
“The idea is that you don't want to have someone penalized because they were born in Blanding, Utah or a smaller city that doesn't have access to Neonatologists,” Sheets said.
The goal is to keep people as close to home as possible instead of being transferred to another facility, which can save time and money.
“We have great data that shows we've increased the acuity, meaning we're keeping the sicker patients in our smaller hospitals, and they had better outcomes than before our intervention,” said Dr. David Guidry, Assistant Medical Director for Tele-critical Care.
Patients can also access a program called Connect Care.
There are kiosks throughout the state where patients can talk to providers from their computer or mobile devices at any time.
"We've had patients use it from the ski lift, from their car," said Tim Lovell, Business Manager, Connect Care. "As long as they're not driving, they can come in and use this. There's no additional cost to use it. Utah Medicaid covers the service."
Intermountain is always looking at ways to expand services. For example, they'd like to put patient kiosks in homeless shelters, school, and even jails.