Air Products Foundation funds health innovation at LVHN One City Center
Progress in medical care innovation was celebrated by a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) at One City Center for the new Air Products Center for Connected Care and Innovation.
Air Products Chairman, President and CEO Seifi Ghasemi was thanked by LVHN President and CEO Dr. Brian A. Nester for the company’s donation of $5 million through the Air Products Foundation.
“This is a special place where we hope to innovate and care for our community in better ways,” said Dr. Nester as he began his presentation Nov. 3, using the center’s 16.3-foot by 4.6-foot interactive technology wall. Nester spoke of how LVHN had moved from “a perverse fee-for-service environment” to a “more rational world of getting paid for outcomes.” He described how the new facility will enable LVHN to provide “better health, better cost, better care.”
With aging baby boomers and Medicare expansion, LVHN’s mission to take care of more people at a higher level of quality at lower cost is “like the conundrum of Air Products, making a company out of air,” quipped Nester. He added, “We are going to have to think through this and get smarter and deliver care in a new way that doesn’t exist.”
Fostering collaboration with industry leaders, community organizations and universities through the center is one goal. Nester said that studying population, clinical, claims, and environmental data, as well as social media will help LVHN “re-engineer care to improve outcomes at a lower cost.”
“Taking care of the homeless is a priority,” said Nester as he cited their proactive street medicine program. Instead of the homeless seeking expensive hospital emergency care, LVHN seeks out the homeless through clinics in soup kitchens, shelters, and with their own street team to find and treat them before they get seriously ill. A hospital consulting service is also available. Pointing to known homeless camps on a map of the Lehigh Valley, Nester explained that a geo-coding system will be utilized to track these camps.
Working with the Dieruff High School “Sew What Club,” LVHN delivers discarded blue wrap to the student club members who then create ponchos and bags from them for the homeless.
On behalf of Air Products employees and the Air Products Foundation, Ghasemi expressed pride in their support of the center. He said, “As human beings, we are all connected. This Center for Connected Care and Innovation is a tangible reminder of our shared humanity, our unique ability as people to help each other make progress and keep advancing and moving forward.”
Nester mentioned that only a portion of the gift had been spent so far. The next project, according to Chief Transformation Officer Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez, focuses on how to keep people healthy at home. “A home monitor is a big deal to us,” she said. Maintaining a connection to a patient at home, in the car or while traveling on vacation is an area they have started working on.
The center has simulation spaces for experimenting with video conferencing to connect patients or doctors from one hospital to a doctor in another hospital and a patient at home to a doctor. The LVHN BabyCam is one recent development.