UPMC forms telemedicine company to target infectious diseases

Pittsburgh-based UPMC launched its new telemedicine company Infectious Disease Connect on May 16 to help hospitals that are experiencing shortages in infectious diseases specialists provide care to patients.

Five notes:

1. ID Connect serves 10 UPMC and five non-UPMC hospitals in Pennsylvania and surrounding states.

2. The company will start off being staffed by UPMC ID physicians and will focus on more than 4,000 U.S. acute care hospitals with fewer than 300 beds.

"These smaller facilities face an especially difficult time recruiting and retaining already scarce ID specialists," ID Connect Chief Medical Officer Rima Abdel-Massih, MD, said in a news release. "ID Connect can cost-effectively provide ID specialists, full time or part time, to augment existing staff."

3. Once ID Connect grows into new markets, the company plans to hire additional physicians to provide patient consultations and expertise in antimicrobial stewardship and infection prevention and control.

4. UPMC hospitals began providing ID services to patients through telemedicine five years ago.

5. Dr. Abdel-Massih, who also serves as director of tele-ID services at UPMC, and John Mellors, MD, infectious diseases chief at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, are co-founders of the new company.

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