Spinoff Company: Telemedicine for Nursing Homes
Steven Handler MD PhD CMD, an Associate Professor of Geriatric Medicine, was recently named chief medical and innovation officer for Curavi Health, a new Pittsburgh company that offers nursing homes telemedicine equipment and software as well as access to doctors at night and on weekends. The telemedicine services company is wholly owned by UPMC Enterprises.
Curavi, a Latin verb that means “to care for,” has been several years in the making. Dr. Handler and his team began researching the telemedicine concept at 17 non-UPMC nursing homes. This initial 2012 study was funded by an innovation grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). UPMC was one of seven organizations to receive a CMS grant aimed at reducing avoidable hospitalizations. Over a three-year period of the grant in Western Pennsylvania, potentially avoidable hospitalizations were reduced nearly 25 percent, while potentially avoidable emergency department visits were reduced more than 40 percent. The reduction in health care utilization led to a net savings to CMS of more than $5 million.
UPMC recently received a second round of CMS funding to continue its study of the impact of telemedicine on patients in nursing homes.