UPMC telemedicine company to focus on nursing home care

Telemedicine

One doctor is working to improve access to care for nursing home patients through a telemedicine company supported by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

UPMC’s Steven Handler, an associate professor of geriatric medicine and director for geriatric telemedicine programs, will serve as the chief medical and innovation officer of the company, called Curavi Health, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Curavi is just one of the many companies UPMC Enterprises has launched, which also include Evolent Health and Health Fidelity, in an effort to "create diversified revenue," President Talbot C. "Tal" Heppenstall previously said.

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The new venture will offer nursing homes access to telemedicine equipment and software, along with access to UPMC physicians who will be available during times when nursing home staff is slim, such as at nights and on weekends.

Improving care at such facilities is especially important because nursing homes may edge out hospitals as the primary healthcare option for elderly patients, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

In creating the new company, Handler looked to a previous UPMC project, RAVEN, that expanded care services into nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities, according to the Times.

"As a geriatrician, I could only see so many residents in a given week, month or year," Handler said. "We all know there is a significant dearth of geriatricians, and we're never going to have enough geriatricians in this country. To me, what this does ... it allows me and my colleagues who are like-minded to improve the ability to see more residents in a timely fashion in their time of need."

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