Innovation Spotlight: UPMC Enterprises

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, ranked #1 hospital in Pittsburgh, #2 hospital in Pennsylvania, and #12 throughout the nation according to U.S. News and World Report, is leading the charge in innovation with UPMC Enterprises.

UPMC started launching businesses with its own healthcare insurance, UPMC Health Plans, in 1996. Eventually their acquisitions and investments became so expansive, they created UPMC Enterprises to focus specifically on creating and investing in healthcare innovation.

UPMC Enterprises, recently recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the top 50 hospitals with innovation programs, is dedicated to helping create health care innovations that will impact patients in significant and lasting ways. They work toward their mission - to shape the future of healthcare through innovation - by investing in new, creative healthcare ideas and financially assisting pre-existing businesses they want to help grow and thrive. On top of their monetary donations, UPMC Enterprises also offers connections to top healthcare and business professionals at UPMC.

Although healthcare spans many categories, UPMC Enterprises focuses on supporting ideas related to clinical tools, population health, consumer-centric healthcare, and business services and infrastructure.

One pre-existing business they’ve invested in is RxAnte. RxAnte improves patient medication use through predictive analysis and clinical software and interventions. Healthcare providers that use their programs save billions of dollars a year because RxAnte optimizes drug therapy outcomes. These programs identify which patients are at-risk for drug abuse and which patients are less likely to consistently follow their medication regimen. The programs then create an individualized drug therapy program which the patient is more likely to follow.

UPMC Enterprises’ investment in RxAnte allows the company to expand its services to Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial populations, as well as expand its predictive analysis and tools to include high-cost specialty drugs. This investment also allows RxAnte to collaborate with UPMC clinical experts. Showing proof of their belief in RxAnte’s innovations, UPMC Health Plan has been a customer of RxAnte for over three years.

UMPC Enterprises Telemedicine Solution

A birth child of UPMC is Curavi Health. Born out of a program called “RAVEN” (Reduce Avoidable hospitalizations using Evidence-based interventions for Nursing facilities in western Pennsylvania), Curavi Health provides telemedicine solutions for nursing homes. Curavi aims to significantly reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations and optimize resident care.

This telemedicine system allows physicians to interact remotely with patients and nursing home staff through a pan/tilt/zoom camera, Bluetooth stethoscope, digital otoscope, document scanner, and EKG system. This is especially useful after hours, on nights and weekends, when there is less staff available at the nursing home. In fact, University of Pittsburgh’s geriatric physicians are contracted to provide after hours telecare to those businesses using Curavi.

Within the next few months, Curavi also plans to include geriatric psychiatry and cardiology to its telecare providers. Since 2012, Curavi has reduced unnecessary hospitalizations by more than 100 visits at both UPMC and non-UPMC facilities.

Steven Handler, M.D., Ph.D., Curavi's chief medical and innovation officer, says, “We work with the [nursing home] nurse and make the nurse part of the caregiving team, and provide the resident with a voice. It's simple things such as if there's shortness of breath we can listen to the lungs and see if it's heart failure or not. Within an hour, we can improve their symptoms without having sent them to the hospital.”

These innovations, along with multiple other healthcare businesses and startups like Via Oncology, Prodigo Solutions, Vivify Health, and Cernostics make up the depth and breadth of companies supported by UPMC Enterprises. UPMC’s innovation investments in everything from better cancer detection to telemedicine to supply chain strategies and beyond are paving the way for better, more efficient patient care.