Carena gains more backers for hospital system telemedicine solutions

Telemedicine provider Carena, Inc., said Thursday that Cambia Health Solutions and McKesson Ventures have partnered with Catholic Health Initiatives and Martin Ventures to fund further development of Carena's Virtual Clinic used by hospital systems.

The partnership, coupled with $13.3 million earmarked for the project, will make it possible for Carena to provide telemedicine services to hospital systems sooner than was originally planned.

"Cambia and McKesson share our belief that building partnerships with local health care systems is the best way to provide high-quality telemedicine solutions for consumers,” Carena CEO Ralph Derrickson said. “We are innovating from within health care systems to expand the brands consumers know and trust.”

Seattle-based Carena recently announced that it has entered into partnerships with four health systems this year: UW Medicine in Seattle, INTEGRIS Health in Oklahoma City, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and Hospital Sisters Health System in Springfield, Illinois.
In the past month, University of Iowa Healthcare in Iowa City and OSF HealthCare in Peoria, Illinois, have launched virtual clinics.

“By investing in Carena, Cambia is supporting the expansion of Carena’s innovative virtual visit capabilities to an increasing number of people nationwide,” Cambia Senior Vice President of Strategic Investment and Corporate Development Rob Coppedge said. “Cambia is proud to support innovative health care solutions designed to provide consumers convenient, cost-effective and integrated health care experiences.”

McKesson Ventures Senior Vice President  and Managing Director Tom Rogers agreed. “Carena enables health systems to extend their footprint to offer compelling virtual clinic services in their local markets," Rogers said.

Funding for telemedicine ventures was at $300 million last year, a 315 percent increase from 2013. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books that provide for the reimbursement of telemedicine to be the same as reimbursement for in-person visits.