COVID-19: UPMC’s Telemedicine Platform Receives USAID Support

COVID-19: UPMC's telemedicine platform receives U.S. Government support to provide remote care to vulnerable patients in Italy. The United States Agency for International Development has committed $1.8 million to develop a solution to support the Italian health system

The healthcare group UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) was awarded $ 1.8 million by the United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop a telemedicine platform in Italy. This grant is one part of USAID's $ 50 million commitment to help save lives and build resilience for the future.

The platform to be designed by UPMC in Italy aims to serve the most vulnerable populations with an accessible, patient-focused, and easy-to-use tool. This digital solution will leverage the best available technology to manage visits, facilitate physician consults and monitoring therapies remotely, reducing congestion in health care facilities and the risk of exposure for patients so they can avoid suspending treatments or postponing important visits.

The key features of the telemedicine platform being developed by UPMC are:

  • tele-visits between health care providers and symptomatic, asymptomatic, quarantined or “COVID-19 free" patients with chronic diseases
  • monitoring of patients in waiting lists for health care facilities or nursing homes
  • video consults between doctors from different facilities
  • monitoring of volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine.

The service will also include training sessions for health care providers to ensure the highest levels of safety and efficiency for remote care. The technology will be rolled out starting in the first six months of 2021.

“Thanks to the support of the United States Government, UPMC in Italy is developing an integrated platform combining technological efficiency and competence, building on state-of-the-art practices that we have used for over 20 years in our Italian health care facilities. Italian patients and the national healthcare system will benefit from an innovative tool to manage the current Covid-19 emergency, and to improve the flexibility of and access to healthcare services in the long term," said Dr. Bruno Gridelli, country manager for UPMC in Italy.

UPMC's proposal for a new management model, its ability to collect and interpret clinical data, and its experienced team of healthcare and technology professionals in Italy led to the health system's selection for this grant.

Beyond the pandemic, UPMC's telemedicine platform is potentially applicable across many different aspects of medicine — from treating chronic diseases and providing psychotherapy to managing the drug supply chain. In the light of these considerations, the platform proposed by UPMC is scalable and modular, designed for long-term expansion. This solution offers the Italian NHS a new organizational model that, thanks to technology, protects vulnerable patients, reduces costs, collects data useful for increasingly accurate care and provides treatments to patients in the comfort of their homes.

“This is an opportunity that goes beyond today's emergency and opens up a new paradigm of increasingly immediate, accessible, and customized health care," said Gridelli.