More Health:

January 27, 2015

Jefferson invests in virtual medical care

Health News Hospitals
011315_Jefferson_Carroll Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Jefferson University Hospital in Center City Philadelphia.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital will invest $20 million in two urgent-care facilities and will build a program to enable doctors to do consultations via video apps.

The idea, CEO Steve Klasko told Bloomberg, is to keep folks out of hospitals.

“The best way to save the system lots of money is to keep them out of the hospital," Klasko said.

Of the $2.9 trillion in annual U.S. health care bills, hospitals account for a third of the cost. In addition, medical spending in the United States is the highest in the world.

Jefferson is among the priciest of hospitals because it's an academic hospital and is equipped to handle complex cases, Bloomberg reported.

Medicare providers can get some savings if they reduce the overall health care costs in their area. That dynamic may leave hospitals like Jefferson behind.

“Can you create a situation ultimately where you’re treating fewer people in the hospital and doing fewer higher-reimbursement treatments? That’s a real risk,” says Dan Steingart, a health-care analyst for Moody’s. “If your contracts only pay you on a pure fee-for-service basis, you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot.”

Klasko hopes that investing in urgent-care centers and video consultations, which the hospital has been testing since last fall, will put Jefferson in the lead.

“If that transition happens in two years, then we look like geniuses,” says Judd Hollander, an emergency doctor who’s helping develop Jefferson’s push into virtual medicine, which involves more than 100 employees so far. “If that transition happens in 30 years, we don’t quite look like geniuses.”

Click here to read the full story.

Follow us

Health Videos