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Dignity Health, UCSF Move to Consolidate Their Telehealth Platforms

The two San Francisco-based health systems are joining forces to bring their telehealth and mHealth services together on one enterprise-wide platform.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- Two San Francisco-based health systems are joining forces to coordinate their mHealth and telehealth programs onto one enterprise-wide platform.

Dignity Health, which comprises 40 hospitals and 400 healthcare sites in California, Arizona and Nevada, announced a partnership last month with the University of California-San Francisco Health System, a research and teaching hospital known for its digital health studies and connected care platforms for specialist services.

“Our collaboration with Dignity Health will empower patients and their families with digital healthcare and connectivity, while simplifying the provider experience,” Shelby Decosta, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for UCSF Health, said in a recent press release. “Together, with Dignity Health, we are opening new pathways for healthcare organizations to create a superior experience for their own patients and ultimately, for patients nationwide.” 

Billed as one of the nation’s largest health systems, Dignity Health will host UCSF Health’s redesigned web- and mobile-based services on its cloud-based platform. Later on, they’ll use that new platform to expand UCSF’s Center for Digital Health Innovation, which develops connected care services for patients moving from primary and secondary care to specialist care.

“Dignity Health is pushing the boundaries of digital transformation and digital therapeutics across the continuum of care,” Dr. Shez Partovi, Dignity Health’s Chief Digital Officer, said in the press release. “We are committed to care for all, and are incorporating innovative digital experiences that are simple and enable patients to make better informed decisions about their health. This collaboration between UCSF and Dignity Health will set a new national standard for how patients should be supported through their digital healthcare journeys with intensely positive and personal experiences.”

This isn’t the first collaboration between the two health systems. Last year, they announced a partnership to improve access to UCSF’s specialist services for three Dignity Health-affiliated hospitals in the Bay Area.

“Healthcare works best when we collaborate to offer the best thinking and the latest medical advances to our patients,” Decosta said at that time. “Dignity Health’s focus on excellent care, as well as the humanity of that care in a community setting, is the perfect balance for UCSF Health’s depth of knowledge and specialty services.”

Dignity Health bolstered its telehealth and telemedicine platform roughly one year ago in a deal with Santa Barbara-based InTouch Health, which – with the acquisitions of TruClinic and Reach Health over the past year – has developed into one of the nation’s largest connected care vendors.

The health system was also among the first to pilot an mHealth gateway allowing access to medical records through Apple’s Health app, which went live earlier this year. Close to 50 health systems across the country are now allowing patients to view their records on the platform.

The deal continues a trend among large healthcare systems to consolidate mHealth and telehealth services on one platform, rather than continuing to operate them as stand-alone programs run out of individual departments or hospitals.

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