- Teladoc said Thursday it is teaming up with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to develop what the organizations claim will be the first consumer pediatric telehealth platform.
- Key assets of the yet-to-be-developed platform will include pediatric-specific workflows and clinical requirements as well as a user experience designed for young patients and their families.
- Cincinnati Children's CIO Steve Davis will head up an interdisciplinary team to advise on the endeavor. Work on the platform will get underway during the second quarter of this year with widespread availability planned for early 2020.
Telehealth at pediatric hospitals is not new. Cincinnati Children's currently provides virtual care services through its Center for Telehealth, and NewYork-Presbyterian added virtual pediatric urgent care to its OnDemand digital health platform for clients of Komansky Children's Hospital in 2017. But there has not been a consumer-focused platform developed specifically with pediatric patients in mind, Teladoc said.
"With the increased adoption of consumer telehealth, the time is now for pediatric hospitals to have a platform that is designed specifically to support the unique care needs and workflows they manage," Alan Roga, president of hospitals and health systems at Teladoc, said in a press release announcing the collaboration.
The partnership and focus on pediatric telehealth comes as Teladoc has been expanding its global footprint and array of offerings through service rollouts and acquisitions outside the U.S.
Last month, the Dallas-based telehealth giant launched Teladoc Telemedicine Services, a round-the-clock virtual care service for Canadians regardless of their location in that country or the U.S. That service was not Teladoc's first foray north of the U.S. border. In 2017, the company debuted its Behavioral Health Navigator services in Canada, combining individualized support and care coordination with virtual access to mental health providers.
Teladoc is also in the process of acquiring Paris-based telehealth vendor MédecinDirect. The deal, which will form the company's French arm, is slated to close in the first half of this year. Terms were not disclosed.
Teladoc bought Spanish telehealth provider Advance Medical last year for $352 million, giving it a presence in Latin America and Asia as well as the ability to offer new healthcare options to multinational businesses. With the acquisition of MédecinDirect, Teladoc's operations span the U.K., Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Brazil, China and Australia.
Cincinnati Children's, which ranked second in U.S. News & World Report's latest list of best children's hospitals, has been an advocate of the role of digital technologies in advancing patient care and treatment. In October, the hospital partnered with seed investor CincyTech to create Clarigent Health, a platform technology leveraging artificial intelligence and natural language processing with the aim of improving mental health outcomes. The venture is initially focused on suicide prevention, with plans for an algorithm-based app that can analyze speech, giving providers clues about a patient's mental state and risk of suicide.