Innovation & Pilot Projects

Since establishing telemedicine services at Avera Health in 1993, we’ve expanded from eConsult to include the nation’s broadest range of eHealth offerings available from a single source. The breadth and quality of this activity reflects Avera’s bold intent to put key resources behind innovative thinking. Through a simple, open process, we find ways to harness the creativity already happening within our organization and network of partners.

Driving Health Care Forward

The Avera eCARE™ Innovation Center ensures we uncover the best ideas, evaluate them thoroughly, provide them with adequate resources and funding, establish working models and test them in real-world, pilot projects. This cycle helps speed the time from concept to pilot while ensuring the value of each successful program.

eCARE Innovation Cycle

The eCARE innovation cycle represents the rigorous methodology we use to identify an issue and understand the needs it meets and benefits it offers. The process produced our current line of telemedicine services: eICU® CARE™, eEmergency, ePharmacy, eLongTermCare, eConsult and eCorrectional Health. It also helped us create better access to language interpretation services for our emergency rooms and continues to generate ideas for new services.

With the goal of completing three or four cycles each year, we:

  • Gather and track ideas from a variety of sources, including:
    • Leadership meetings
    • Conference attendance
    • Project Genesis, where Avera Health employees share their innovative ideas
    • Conversations with our partners at critical access hospitals (CAH)
    • IT innovation meetings
  • Prepare and present a brief proposal to an internal eCARE review panel
  • Evaluate, score and discuss each idea to assess fit, timing and resource availability
  • Move accepted concepts into a 90-day evaluation period under the guidance of a project
  • Present the program’s business plan to Avera Health organizational leadership
  • Pilot approved programs
  • Move successful programs into operation within eCARE or the Avera Health system

Pilot Programs in Progress

eCARE innovation never stops. Programs currently under review, rolling out as pilot projects or now in operation include:

  • eCARE for the Workplace – Creates a dedicated telehealth suite within a company or business facility to connect their employees with Avera eCARE urgent care providers to evaluate and treat common ailments
  • eCARE School Nurse – Partners with school districts to provide nurse coverage for the entire school day; assures immediate virtual nurse response to student needs
  • Antibiotic Stewardship – Ensures all hospital patients get the most appropriate antibiotics during their inpatient stay, which helps avoid contributing to antibiotic-resistant organisms, also known as superbugs; team effort with primary care physician, pharmacist and infectious disease specialist 
  • AveraNOW – Connects consumers directly to trusted Avera Medical Group providers 24/7 for a live, online video visit through their mobile device, which saves time and travel expense for evaluation and treatment of common ailments; includes any appropriate prescriptions and online payment via credit card; launched for iOS and Android in June 2015