UPMC-grown companies respond
UPMC Enterprises, the commercialization, venture capital, and innovation arm of UPMC, supports the health system’s innovation mission and has been involved in the response to COVID-19 through several portfolio companies.
Abridge, an app developer that allows patients to record medical conversations, Infectious Disease Connect (ID Connect), which provides infectious disease services via telemedicine, and Curavi Health, which provides geriatric telemedicine services in post-acute care settings, all facilitated digital care during COVID-19.
Abridge expanded to telehealth to better serve people who aren’t able to meet with their physicians face-to-face because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The app created by Abridge has been used by thousands of users to record conversations with their providers during office visits. Powered by artificial intelligence, the app generates after-visit summaries for users to review on their own, with family, or other caregivers.
However, as social distancing measures ramped up in response to COVID-19 and care shifted from in-person to telehealth visits, Abridge created a solution for some UPMC doctors to call their patients through an Abridge-enabled phone number, without any additional technology. With consent from both patient and physician, the calls are recorded by Abridge. Abridge automatically transcribes the conversations, and, using clinical natural language processing, key medical terms and instructions are highlighted for easy review and with helpful links to additional information.
After the call is over, the patient receives a text message from Abridge with information on how to access their summary via the Abridge app. For in-person or video appointments, users can access the Abridge app on their smartphones or tablets to record a physician visit.
In May, ID Connect combined with Merck’s ILÚM Health Solutions, a provider of technology and services to support infectious disease management, clinical decision-support, and precision antibiotic therapy. The expanded company now serves hospitals in nine states.
With ILÚM’s platform, ID Connect’s physicians and pharmacists receive real-time antimicrobial usage and resistance data from partner hospitals to help them select appropriate therapy, while managing costs, toxicity, and the potential for further resistance and transmission of infection. The ILÚM Insight software uses machine learning to evaluate a patient’s demographic factors, medication history, past hospitalizations and other data to generate individualized treatment recommendations.
Curavi serves 100+ skilled nursing and other post-acute facilities through customized telemedicine solutions. Through its platform, nursing home staff can connect with a physician for help with any clinical issues, including assessing whether a patient should go to the hospital.
Curavi’s clinicians worked around the clock to help users and keep nursing home residents in their facilities when that was the safest route for care. Recent changes to federal regulations in response to COVID-19 expanded access to telemedicine services, which allowed Curavi to implement a wide variety of portable telemedicine services into new facilities more quickly.
A national shortage of infectious disease specialists has created difficulty for many community and rural hospitals and health care facilities in recruiting and retaining physicians with infectious disease (ID) expertise. In addition, many hospitals do not need the services of a full-time ID specialist. Recognizing this need, ID Connect provides world-class, academic ID expertise through an end-to-end telemedicine solution – which became a vital solution during COVID-19.