Virtual hospital brings access to care for entire Intermountain Healthcare system

It's one of the largest networks of its kind in the U.S.

MIDVALE, Utah (News4Utah) -- Intermountain Healthcare opens a new hospital Wednesday, without a building or walls! It's a hi-tech virtual hospital, one of the largest of its kind in the U.S., to help patients in under-served areas.

Intermountain Connect Care Pro is providing care for patients anywhere, anytime.

Intermountain Healthcare is bringing together a network od 35 telehealth programs and more than 500 caregivers to patients who need care regardless of where they are.

From basic medical care to advanced services such as evaluating strokes, mental health counseling, intensive care and newborn critical care, access is key.

"When you get in that waiting room you'll get a text and you can go do other things. If a prescription is needed they can send it off to the pharmacy," said Tom Lovell, Business Manager for Connect Care Pro.

Not only is it convenient for patients but comforting to physicians in smaller rural communities, who may need a little more expertise from other hospitals.
Keeping patients at home or in the hospital closest to home, can be beneficial for everyone and reduce the spread of some diseases.

"We have the ability to bring an infectious disease specialist to every hospital and keep the patient there. We have great data showing we are keeping sicker patients in smaller hospitals and they're having better outcomes," said Dr. David Guidry, Assistant Medical Director for Tele-critical care.

Intermountain says the virtual hospital not only improves the quality of care in the community but saves patients and clinicians time and money.

Intermountain Healthcare says they've lowered the cost of care for patients including patient transports by more than $2.1 million over several years.

"A lot of times for minor conditions the home is the best place to treat them," said Lovell. 

There is a patient kiosk in Columbus Library in South Salt Lake to give patients access to care.

Intermountain is looking to expand this program and bring more kiosks in homeless shelters, schools and community centers in underserved areas.

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