Air Products Donation Leads to Creation of LVHN Innovation Center
By Colin McEvoy on November 23, 2015
It was 16 months ago that the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) opened its sports medicine and fitness destination at One City Center. Today, the health network announced another innovative health care initiative, once again located in the heart of downtown Allentown.
Officials today announced the establishment of the new Air Products Center for Connected Care and Innovation at LVHN, which will include customizable, open-space rooms that allow for the testing of concepts, technologies, or pilot ideas in a controlled setting.
This unique center is supported by a major donation by Air Products. While the exact amount has not been publicly disclosed, company officials say it is the single largest gift ever donated in the history of Air Products.
“Using this gift, Lehigh Valley Health Network and collaborators will develop and launch innovative ways to improve and deliver healthcare, solutions that will come about by thinking big,” Brian Nester, LVHN President and CEO, told more than 100 people at an announcement today.
The center will be located in LVHN-One City Center, the facility attached to the PPL Center hockey arena at 7th and Hamilton streets. The renovation of that space will occur in the coming months, LVHN officials said.
“We are excited about the prospects of the innovative achievements to be made at this center, which will bear our name, and which will help Lehigh Valley Health Network accomplish important objectives,” said Seifi Ghasemi, chairman, president and CEO of Air Products.
“We at Air Products want to be part of making that happen,” he said. “This gift reinforces our continued commitment to bringing to the area the highest quality healthcare for people, with a focus on innovation and always striving to be the best.”
As an example of services that could be offered at the new center, Nester cited the two-way interactive audio and video technology for LVHN’s Street Medicine program. That program recently used this technology to provide behavioral health services to a patient who lived in an unsheltered camp in the Lehigh Valley.
Another example is Virtual Inpatient Check-in/Check-out (VICC), which connects surgeons and their patients via secure video to ensure a patient who had surgery the previous day is ready to go home.
Debbie Salas-Lopez, LVHN associate chief medical officer, said the center’s downtown Allentown location is intended to foster community involvement. Collaboration with groups outside of healthcare — like community members, schools, universities, and industry- and community-based agencies — will be an important part of the solution-development process, she said.
“Together we want to have important discussions about how we can imagine, develop, and ultimately shape the future of healthcare,” Salas-Lopez said. “Our overall goal is to create a healthier Lehigh Valley, and we firmly believe the new Air Products Center for Connected Care and Innovation at LVHN will give us the space and the tools to accomplish that goal.”
Other innovative programs the center could include are post-operative follow-up visits from a patient’s residence, an expansion of LVHN’s remote patient monitoring program for high-risk patients with chronic diseases, virtual travel medicine visits for patients wanting to travel outside the United States, and virtual visits that can provide patients access to LVHN providers for certain primary care conditions using their personal computer or mobile device.
While the new center’s location is being developed, LVHN’s former telehealth services, now known as connected care, will continue to be offered. To date, LVHN offers 17 telehealth programs, including services like TeleBurn. With TeleBurn, LVHN burn surgeons consult with physicians at 100 locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware to assess the severity of a patient’s burn using securely transmitted diseases.
LVHN includes five hospital campuses, with three in Allentown, one in Bethlehem, and one in Hazleton, Pa. It also includes 13 health centers caring for communities in five counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region; pharmacy, imagine, home health services and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred.
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