Deanna Larson, Chief Executive Officer of Avera eCARE® based in Sioux Falls, S.D., has been named Woman of the Year by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).
Larson accepted this national award April 29 at the ATA18 International Conference & Expo in Chicago, which convenes thousands of health care leaders to focus exclusively on telemedicine.
Larson was selected for having demonstrated exceptional character and leadership along with continued service to the American Telemedicine Association and telehealth industry.
“Deanna Larson is an innovative leader with an entrepreneurial spirit. Her vision has helped lead to the most extensive and diversified telemedicine network in the world,” said John Porter, President and CEO of Avera, an integrated health system with 300 locations in 100 communities across the Upper Midwest.
“No one else is doing exactly what Avera is doing, and much of this success is thanks to her leadership.”
Avera eCARE offers a wide continuum of care to more than 400 sites in 17 states through distinct service lines including ICU, Emergency, Pharmacy, Senior Care, Correctional Health, Specialty Clinic, Behavioral Health, Hospitalist, and School Health.
This year, Avera eCARE is celebrating 25 years of telemedicine delivery. It has touched more than 1.4 million patients and has saved an estimated $200 million in health care costs.
Larson began her career as an RN, working throughout the continuum of care – home care, long-term care, behavioral health, and medical/surgical hospital care and then in nursing leadership. She was named to a corporate role in quality assurance in 1996.
In 2006, she was assigned administrative oversight for Avera eCARE. At that time, it involved extending ICU care and physician consults through interactive video and computer monitoring technology.
As the recipient of many grants, eCARE, under her leadership, soon established telemedicine programs for emergency room care and pharmacy services. In response to identified needs, programs were developed to serve long-term care, correctional facilities, schools and more. Most recently, Avera eCARE received the opportunity through contractual funding from Indian Health Service (IHS) to reach out to American Indian reservation communities with Emergency and Specialty Clinic services that include behavioral health.
Through Larson’s leadership, grant funding was secured through governmental sources as well as The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. In 2012, Helmsley Trust funding allowed for the development of eHelm, a 24/7 “virtual hospital” in Sioux Falls that serves as a hub for telemedicine services.
“Deanna and her team continually find new applications for eCARE technology, and forge new partnerships to expand the network. We are proud that Avera eCARE not only serves the needs of our own vast rural footprint, but has extended beyond existing borders as more health systems, hospitals, long-term care centers, clinics and schools learn how an experienced telemedicine network can offer solutions for some of the greatest challenges in health care,” Porter said.
“Leading eCARE is tremendous privilege and I am thrilled to be involved on the cutting edge of telemedicine services that save money, save careers, and most importantly save lives. I am truly humbled and honored. I thank ATA for this recognition, and my amazing eCARE team for their support and collaboration,” Larson said.