Intermountain, Sanford aim to boost telehealth, digital health with merger

Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare announced plans to merge with Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health this week with increased telehealth and digital services as a key aspect of the pending deal.

"The merger enables our organizations to move more quickly to further implement value-based strategies and realize economies of scale. Through coordinated care, increased use of telehealth and digital health services, we will make healthcare more affordable for our communities," Marc Harrison, MD, president and CEO of Intermountain, said in an Oct. 26 news release.

The combined organization would comprise 70 hospitals and 435 clinics in seven states, with many of the locations in rural communities. Intermountain already has a virtual hospital and robust telehealth services as part of its health system. Its Care Connect Pro, launched in February, combines 35 telehealth programs and more than 500 caregivers providing basic and advanced services virtually.

Sanford Health also offers telehealth and virtual care options. Sanford One Connect Emergency connects emergency and trauma physicians with healthcare professionals in rural settings for audio and video consults and can streamline patient transfers when necessary. The health system also partners with Tyto Care for telehealth visits and home exam kits.

The merger between the two health systems is expected to close in 2021.

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