With JeffConnect, Jefferson University Hospitals Offers Patients a New Way to Receive Care
// By Althea Fung //
In an address to the Alliance for Connected Care Telehealth Policy Forum in 2018, CMS administrator Seema Verma said, “Telehealth is changing the very face of healthcare.” She’s right. Studies have found that telehealth programs have reduced 30-day hospital readmission rates for heart failure patients, sped up the time to treatment for patients experiencing a stroke, and reduced mortality, length of stay, and complication rates for patients in intensive care units. For Jefferson Health, a 14-hospital system based in Philadelphia and New Jersey, telehealth has allowed it to transform how it thinks about delivering care to patients.
“Our [health system] president and CEO Dr. Stephen Klasko had an innovative look at the world and how we should deliver care to patients,” says Frank Sites, vice president of Connected Care operations at Jefferson Health.
Leveraging telehealth, the system can offer services to patients in their large catchment area of southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. “This allows us to create access for our patients despite our geographic region. For some people who have to travel to seek specialty care in Philadelphia, it opens up another realm for how we see patients.”
Launched in 2015, the telehealth service called JeffConnect® offers on-demand video visits, scheduled video visits, remote second opinions, and virtual rounds for families who aren’t available for inpatient rounds. Originally using another commercially available platform, JeffConnect moved to Teladoc Health in 2017 to enhance virtual medical care. Sites says that by offering this suite of services, Jefferson Health is empowering patients to seek care on their terms.
“We want to give patients the opportunity to choose how they want to receive care. This is just another avenue of how that can be done,” he says.