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Virtual Care Platforms Expand Through Investment, Collaboration

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   June 26, 2024

UPMC has sold a virtual consult tool developed during the pandemic to virtual care company eVisit and, along with MedStar Health, is investing in the company to foster future innovation opportunities.

A virtual consult tool developed by UPMC during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is being sold to eVisit to enhance its inpatient telemedicine platform.

At the same time, both UPMC Enterprises and MedStar Health are investing in the Arizona-based virtual care company “to pursue co-development opportunities.”

The transactions point to the shifting nature of health system-based telemedicine and the value of hospital-vendor partnerships in expanding enterprise-wide platforms. More and more healthcare organizations are the seeing the benefits of developing and marketing their own capabilities to companies who can then integrate those tools into a much larger platform.

[Also read: New Report Details Health Systems Investments in Innovation.]

"Our guiding mission at UPMC Enterprises is to develop solutions to the clinical needs identified by the thousands of physicians at UPMC who provide lifesaving care to our patients," Brenton Burns, executive vice president at UPMC Enterprises, said in a press release. "When we create something like the teleconsult technology that so brilliantly achieves that goal and becomes a vital part of our clinical operations, we look for partners who can help us make it available to clinicians and patients outside our walls. We're excited to have found that partner in eVisit. Bringing these two technologies together creates a powerful end-to-end virtual care platform."

UPMC developed the technology in 2020 to facilitate virtual consults between bedside clinicians and specialists in stroke, neurology, critical care, psychology, and toxicology. The idea behind the tool was to help clinicians in rural locations and those beleaguered by a crush of pandemic patients to access help on demand, improving care management and speeding up care coordination. According to the health system, the tool has facilitated 40,000 consults and curbed wait times by 92%.

Bolting that capability onto eVisit’s virtual care platform will give more health systems the opportunity to use it. That includes Maryland-based MedStar Health, which has worked with eVisit since 2018 and collaborated with the vendor to develop its MedStar Health Connected Care transformation model.

[Also read: The Exec: MedStar Health's William Sheahan Sees A Future in Connected Care.]

"Our growing partnership with eVisit continues to redefine what is possible with care delivery powered by the best digital innovation and expertise," William Sheahan, the health system’s  chief innovation officer and executive director of the MedStar Institute for Innovation, said in the release. "As we expand our work together, we sharpen our focus on acute care to strengthen newer capabilities such as virtual nursing, while continually pushing past boundaries through bold new innovation and action across the continuum of care." 

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation at HealthLeaders.


Health systems are incubating their own technology, then selling those tools and investing in innovative companies to expand their virtual care platforms.

The strategy enables healthcare leaders to collaborate with others in the industry and build out more comprehensive networks.

UPMC Enterprises and MedStar Health are both investing in eVisit to support the company's virtual care platform and open the door to future projects.

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