Intermountain Bolsters Connected Health Footprint With Air Transport Service

Intermountain Healthcare is acquiring an air transport service that reaches eight states, a move that officials say will support and improve its far-reaching telehealth platform.

Intermountain Healthcare has announced plans to acquire an air medical transport company, a move that officials say will also improve its telehealth program.

The Salt Lake City-based health system recently announced that it is purchasing Classic Air Medical, which offers air transport services in eight western states with a fleet of 28 aircraft and logged about 5,000 flights in 2020. The service will complement Intermountain’s own Life Flight service.

Officials say the expanded fleet will support the health system’s expansive connected health platform by supporting healthcare providers in rural and remote areas who are connected to Intermountain through telehealth services. Having that service on hand will give remote providers the confidence to shift from telehealth to transport when the need calls for in-person treatment.

“This will benefit our organizations and the communities we each serve,” Rob Allen, Intermountain’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, said in a press release. “The services provided by Classic augment our ability to care for people in an affordable and convenient way. With a relentless focus on improving value-based care, especially in rural areas, Intermountain and Classic will help make air medical transportation more accessible.”

The acquisition points to a trend among health systems to bring in complementary mobile health services to round out the connected health platform, thus making it easier to coordinate care. Such a platform might include transportation services that include planes and ambulances, as well as drones for pick-up and delivery (and even virtual visits), mobile integrated health programs for home-based care and access to diagnostic services, specialists and even social services.

Analysts expect these types of partnerships to increase as healthcare providers look to expand their connected health footprint, either by offering more services to patients at home or linking with rural clinics, hospitals and medical practices.

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