Published on June 24, 2020

Avera eCARE® and ViTel Net awarded the National Emergency Telecritical Care Network (NETCCN) project

Avera eCARE® and ViTel Net have been awarded funds to compete in Task 1 of the National Emergency Telecritical Care Network (NETCCN) project, provided by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s (USAMRDC) Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC). This project is to help support the rapid development, deployment, and testing of a mobile solution for telecritical care services to respond to disaster surges, such as medical, trauma or natural disasters.

Through a step-wise approach, the NETCCN project will fund the initial Task 1 cohort of nine teams consisting of health care organizations and technology vendors to rapidly, iteratively, and collaboratively prototype, test, and refine telecritical care and data visualization solutions to support local, regional, and ultimately, national COVID-19 care and situational awareness.

Task 1 of the NETCCN project consists of a 15-day sprint in which the awarded teams will conduct their initial system configuration and alpha testing. Successful teams will have the opportunity to move on to Task 2, which is another 15-day rapid sprint of further development and testing.

Avera eCARE, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., is a long-time innovator and leader in the ongoing development of telemedicine. “Others look to Avera eCARE as a visioning organization that helps to define the global future of telemedicine,” said Deanna Larson, CEO of Avera eCARE.

Avera eCARE services span the entire inpatient and outpatient continuum, including telecritical care coverage of 300 ICU beds and virtual support of 190 emergency rooms in their critical care delivery. Avera eCARE has teamed with ViTel Net, a telehealth technology leader for over 30 years. ViTel Net’s platform provides the flexibility and capability needed to deliver care across the continuum – from patient homes for COVID-19 population management to ICU beds in both rural and field hospitals for delivery of critical care expertise.

Together, they are developing a full-service clinical telemedicine platform to seamlessly partner with bedside caregivers in the delivery of critical care, across a variety of settings. The browser-based teleconsultation and documentation technology will make best use of limited resources in austere environments and use standardized protocols and communication tools to reduce care variability and improve outcomes.

ViTel Net configured its integrated solution using vCareCommand™ – a secure, full-featured, cloud-based platform that supports standards based interoperability, enabling seamless data and work flows for all care teams, while furnishing data analytics and reporting for crisis management. This configurable platform will provide the flexibility and capability needed to deliver care across the continuum – from patient homes to ICU beds – all on readily available Internet connected mobile devices.

Team Avera eCARE’s Primary Investigator and executive leader is J. Christopher Farmer, MD, Associate Medical Director at Avera eCARE. A retired Air Force Colonel, Farmer developed the Air Force’s CCATT program, and later served as Department Chair for Critical Care Medicine at Mayo Clinic and chaired the Critical Care Board for the American Board of Internal Medicine. Farmer states, “We wish to create a full-service, clinical telemedicine platform that spans the continuum of medicine and is not tied to a geographical hub. This is a system that allows telemedicine providers across service lines to actively participate, wherever they are located.”

The two organizations recognize that care variability in medical decision-making and therapeutic approaches can hinder care quality. “Telemedicine provides an opportunity to improve communications, set protocols for care activities according to established guidelines and best practices, and thereby lessen variability and improve quality. This is especially true during a disaster event where communications are challenging and medical decision-making is harried,” Farmer said.

About ViTel Net

ViTel Net, based in McLean, VA, is a leading telehealth innovator, providing a configurable and interoperable enterprise platform and point-of-care modules for the entire telehealth continuum of care. Clinicians use our technology to access medical images, patient data, and live video conferencing to remotely diagnose, treat, and manage patients. www.vitelnet.com

About Avera eCARE

Avera eCARE offers one of the largest and most comprehensive virtual health networks in the world – partnering with more than 450 health care systems, rural hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities, assisted livings, schools, correctional facilities – across the country.