VA inks 10-year, $100M deal with Philips for remote critical care services

The Department of Veterans Affairs has inked a deal with technology company Philips to expand and improve its tele-critical care program. (Philips)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has inked a $100 million contract with Philips to extend its remote intensive care capabilities.

As part of the 10-year contract, the VA will work with Philips to enhance telehealth technology and services including tele-ICU, diagnostic imaging, sleep solutions and patient monitoring to improve care for veterans.

The contract enables the VA to invest up to $100 million with Philips, according to a release.

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Together, the organizations will build the world’s largest telehealth critical care system to provide veterans remote access to intensive care expertise, the VA said. The VA manages 1,800 ICU beds nationwide across its more than 1,700 care sites.

Patients in eICU settings spend less time in the ICU and have better outcomes, according to research from Philips. And use of the technology enables family members to talk to clinicians via integrated audio and video technology to support decision-making.

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The VA, which serves 9 million veterans each year, delivered more than 2.5 million telehealth episodes last year. The agency also expanded telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide 10,000 to 120,000 visits per week.

As part of an overall telehealth program, eICU enables a co-located team of trained critical care physicians and nurses to remotely monitor patients in the ICU regardless of patient location.

“VA’s relationship with Philips will help to expand and improve our tele-critical care program,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie 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.”

Philips also has worked with the Department of Defense (DOD) on several technological innovations. The DOD and Philips developed a technology using artificial intelligence to identify infection more than 48 hours before observable symptoms.

The project used AI to look at certain combinations of vital signs and other biomarkers to speed time to detection, intervention, and treatment, while improving outcomes and reducing the spread of disease. The DOD and Philips are researching how to integrate this algorithm into a wearable device to monitor a soldier's health and provide earlier alerts to potential infection.

The VA has a long-standing relationship with Philips stretching back 45 years. More than half of all VA hospitals use the company's imaging solutions, and more than 35% use Philips critical care systems.

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The company also has worked with the VA to stand up virtual clinics for veterans within Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts across the U.S. The project, called Advancing Telehealth through Local Access Stations (ATLAS), helps bring accessible and affordable care to rural veterans while reducing long highway hours and travel expenses, the VA said.

Philips is a dominant player in the eICU market. More than 20% of U.S. adult ICU beds and 1 in 8 adult ICU patients are monitored by a 24/7 continuous demand model powered by Philips's eICU program.

The remote intensive care service combines A/V technology, predictive analytics, data visualization and advanced reporting capabilities, the company said. Philips also developed software that uses advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to synthesize patient data and deliver actionable insights to support proactive care in coordination with onsite staff.

“Philips is committed to improving the lives of three billion people a year by 2030 and is working closely with VA to support one of our most important initiatives: improving the health of our servicemen and women,” said Vitor Rocha, chief market leader for Philips North America, in a statement.

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