New partnership to bring telehealth home

Remote Island: Patients across Long Island and throughout the Northwell Health system may benefit from a new deal with Virginia teleheath solutions provider Avizia.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

A large-scale investment by Northwell Ventures will put a futuristic spin on the old-fashioned house call.

The Northwell Health system on Wednesday announced a new partnership with Virginia-based telehealth solutions provider Avizia Inc. aimed at “expanding the depth and reach of Northwell’s telehealth services, helping to effectively and efficiently provide patients with the right care at the right time and place,” Northwell said in a statement – and yes, that includes patients’ homes.

The “strategic channel partnership” starts with a cash infusion from Northwell Ventures, the New Hyde Park-based health system’s corporate-venture arm. Northwell Ventures’ undisclosed stake brings Avizia’s Series A funding to an even $18 million, according to the Reston-based med-tech firm, and opens the door to a world of collaborative possibilities.

Martin Doerfler: Northwell is homeward bound.

With Avizia’s help, New York State’s largest healthcare provider (and employer) aims to align the “telehealth infrastructure” throughout its 21 hospitals and more than 550 outpatient practices, including imaging centers, outpatient surgical facilities, nursing homes and laboratories, all in Downstate New York.

It also intends to bring healthcare providers into patients’ homes – at least, virtually, according to Martin Doerfler, Northwell Health’s associate chief medical officer.

Doerfler, who doubles as Northwell’s senior vice president of clinical strategy and development, said Wednesday the enterprise partnership with the international services provider would help Northwell develop “a robust, direct-to-consumer telehealth platform” that satisfies the needs of modern patients and providers – including the ability to diagnose and monitor homebound patients.

“Northwell Health is working diligently to provide the best care to our community as efficiently for patients and providers as we can,” Doerfler noted, adding the new telehealth options will “provide care to the individuals we serve within their homes and businesses for a range of different conditions.”

The Avizia agreement adds on to several existing telehealth functions already running through the Northwell Health system, which boasts an electronic intensive care unit that bolsters critical care in seven different hospitals and a “telestroke” program that helps board-certified neurologists assist EMTs treating stroke victims in the field.

Northwell Health will expand both of those telehealth verticals throughout the system in the coming year while incorporating the Avizia ONE cloud-based telehealth software platform to provide new telemonitoring services for home-care patients. Avizia ONE uses a proprietary, Bluetooth-powered system to deliver real-time vital sign and symptom data to remote clinicians.

Northwell Health will also look to work in such technological tools as Avizia OnePass, a secure messaging app designed to help providers share patient updates and diagnostic images, and myCare by Avizia, a mobile app designed to connect patients directly to their care team.

Noting Avizia’s mission “to enable any provider to care for any patient in any place,” Avizia CEO and cofounder Mike Baird said his company was “honored” to collaborate with Northwell Health on a partnership that will “help Avizia further innovate our platform to transform patient care.”

“The Avizia ONE platform enables leading healthcare institutions like Northwell to better coordinate care and get the patients the services they need regardless of their location, while dramatically improving the patient experience,” Baird said in a statement.

Northwell Ventures Executive Director Thomas Thornton said the venture fund, which launched in 2016, chose to back Avizia as one of its first investments because of the Virginia firm’s “end-to-end telemedicine capabilities and expertise.”

“The company offers wide-use case applicability, along with an open-technology architecture to integrate more seamlessly into the ever-growing Northwell,” Thornton noted. “This partnership … will certainly improve Northwell’s ability to communicate care plans across the care continuum, as well as appropriately manage care in more cost-effective settings for patients.”

The Northwell Health partnership is not Avizia’s first rodeo. The company now works with more than 400 different healthcare systems in 37 countries, including eight of the top 10 U.S. hospital networks. It also partners with a virtual army of international technologists and distributors.

The Northwell Health/Avizia collaboration also marks the second consecutive year in which Northwell has made telemedicine its first New Year’s priority. In January 2016, the system announced it was launching Health Connect Technologies, a new IT company working to develop and commercialize a “management solution technological platform” that would promote collaborative care among physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers.