Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
00:00 AM

Lehigh Valley Health Network Announces New Air Products Center for Connected Care and Innovation

This morning, officials from Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) and Air Products announced the establishment of the new Air Products Center for Connected Care and Innovation at LVHN. The Air Products Foundation is providing a major donation to launch the center.

“Using this gift, Lehigh Valley Health Network and collaborators will develop and launch innovative ways to improve and deliver health care – solutions that will come about by thinking ‘big’,” says Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, LVHN’s president and chief executive officer.

That type of “big” thinking inspired Air Products’ founder, Leonard Parker Pool, to envision a superior, regional hospital for the Lehigh Valley more than 40 years ago. That facility is known today as Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest.

Seifi Ghasemi, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Air Products, says the gift from the Air Products Foundation to create the Air Products Center for Connected Care and Innovation at Lehigh Valley Health Network will be a catalyst for future thinking.

“Today’s gift to Lehigh Valley Health Network is the largest single gift in our history. We are very happy to have the Air Products Center for Connected Care and Innovation at Lehigh Valley Health Network located right here in Allentown in this building at One City Center. We are excited about the prospects of the innovative achievements to be made at this Center, which will bear our name, and which will help Lehigh Valley Health Network accomplish important objectives. We at Air Products want to be part of making that happen. This gift reinforces our continued commitment to bring to the area the highest quality health care for people with a focus on innovation and always striving to be the best,” Ghasemi said.

Nester says the gift is significant in several ways for both organizations and for the community. “It is truly historic for Air Products to make such a generous gift to Lehigh Valley Health Network, and we are proud to receive this legacy gift in honor of the 75th anniversary of Air Products,” Nester says.

The Air Products Center for Connected Care and Innovation at LVHN will be located at LVHN–One City Center, inside the Allentown revitalization district. “Our center will be right here in downtown Allentown to foster community involvement,” says Debbie Salas-Lopez, MD, MPH, FACP, associate chief medical officer at LVHN. Salas-Lopez explains that collaboration with groups outside health care will be an important part of the solution-development process. “We’ll reach out to community members, schools and universities, industry and community-based agencies,” she says. “Together we’ll have important discussions about how we can imagine, develop and ultimately shape the future of health care.”

The Air Products Center for Connected Care and Innovation at LVHN will have customizable, open-space rooms that will allow for the testing of concepts, technologies or pilot ideas in a controlled setting. The renovation of that space will occur in the coming months.

While the center’s location is developed, LVHN’s former telehealth services (now known as connected care) will continue to be offered. To date we have 17 telehealth programs, including services like Teleburn. With TeleBurn, LVHN burn surgeons consult with physicians at 100 locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware to assess the severity of a patient’s burn using securely transmitted images.

One of our newer connected-care innovations, according to Joe Tracy, LVHN vice president for Connected Care and Innovation, uses two-way interactive audio and video technology for LVHN’s Street Medicine program. “This program recently used this technology to connect and provide behavioral health services to a gentleman who lived in an unsheltered camp in the Lehigh Valley,” Tracy says.

Another new innovation, called VICC – short for Virtual Inpatient Check-in/Check-out – connects surgeons and their patients via secure video to ensure a patient who had surgery the previous day is ready to go home. (Video available of VICC.)

Other innovative programs on the drawing board include, but are not limited to post-operative follow up visits from a patient’s residence; expansion of our remote patient monitoring program for high-risk patients with chronic diseases; virtual travel medicine visits for patient wanting to travel outside the United States; and virtual visits that can provide patients with access to LVHN providers for certain primary care conditions using their personal computer or mobile device (such as a tablet or cell telephone).