UPMC creates 'diversified revenue' through health IT solutions

In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) health system is continuing to develop and market healthcare IT solutions, Talbot C. "Tal" Heppenstall, president of UPMC Enterprises, tells Healthcare Informatics.

The organization wants to "create diversified revenue," he says, and that is coming from technology these days. Efforts it's focusing on include business services and infrastructure, population health, consumer tools and more, Heppenstall adds.

UPMC Enterprises has launched companies like Health Fidelity, which concentrates on language processing and assists payers with category code, as well as Evolent Health, which is a health management services organization helping hospitals launch health plans. Evolent filed for a $100 million IPO last year.

Challenges in this area do arise, Heppenstall adds, and sometimes an effort just doesn't pan out.

"In any kind of innovation and entrepreneurship, a large percentage of the activity doesn't yield success," he says.

One piece of advice for others looking to go down a similar path, Heppenstall says, is to "hire good people," because it takes a different kind of employee that wouldn't normally be found in healthcare nonprofits.

Other hospitals also are looking to health IT to boost profits. In fact, more than two dozen hospitals in Ohio teamed up last June to commercialize healthcare technologies. The Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, which is made up of 28 facilities, is partnering with design firm Kaleidoscope on the initiative.

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