Connected CARE & Safety Consortium | MedStar Health

Connected CARE—Care Access, Research, Equity—& Safety Consortium

A consortium founded by MedStar Health, Stanford Medicine, and Intermountain Health, made possible by grant funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Latest news: Read the press release about the expansion and publication of our work here.


Telehealth use across the United States increased astronomically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, launching a “connected care” transformation. Never have patients been as connected to their healthcare providers through telehealth tools such as video, phone (calls and texts), emails, remote patient monitoring devices, and more—all ensuring care delivery is not limited to in-person encounters.

Importantly, this connected care transformation also exponentially expanded the data we can study to help advance telehealth access, research, health equity, patient safety, and more.

Made possible through two grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Connected CARE—Care Access, Research, Equity—& Safety Consortium examines and enhances the impact of telehealth technology on U.S. health care access, safety, and health equity—especially for patients with chronic conditions and other vulnerable populations.

While research launched in January 2021 with an initial focus on primary care, in September 2022, the team received a second grant to establish a patient safety learning laboratory over a four-year funding period tied to outpatient settings more holistically. To best serve this expanded focus to explore safety solution design, development, and implementation, the team also announced plans to collaborate with experts at Microsoft Research and virtual care platform-as-a-service provider Bluestream Health, along with health equity and patient and family advisors. Within MedStar Health, this work is being co-led by our MedStar Telehealth Innovation Center within the MedStar Institute for Innovation and by our MedStar National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare within the MedStar Health Research Institute.

Smiling provider sitting in front of laptop gestures a thumbs up to the masked patient on her screen during a virtual visit


This work has established one of the largest COVID-19 connected care data sharing and analysis efforts of its type to date, with separate but related efforts focused on both primary care and safety. It has linked three health system telehealth leaders that together have examined more than 5 million completed care encounters—and counting—to gain essential insights that will inform the future of care delivery. Together, we are working to:

  • Examine how telehealth technology impacts U.S. primary care access for diverse subpopulations (e.g., patients with chronic conditions).

  • Study existing and proactive telehealth-related patient safety opportunities, as well as the related socio-technical system factors impacting vulnerable patient populations.

  • Design, develop, test, and scale safety solutions informed by clinical, human factors, technology, and systems engineering expertise.

  • Publish related findings in research journals.

  • Inform key stakeholders about our insights, including patients, providers, policymakers, trade and research organizations, community groups, news media, and others. Share other resources to advance connected care.

Research and resources

To date, our investigators have examined the following aspects of primary care access for various patient subpopulations:

  • If groups accessed primary care prior to—and during—the COVID-19 pandemic

  • How groups accessed primary care over these periods, as applicable

  • Facilitators and barriers to groups accessing care over time

These subpopulations relate to chronic conditions, demographics, insurance status, and more.

In addition to continuing to disseminate related primary care research, the team will launch safety-focused studies tied to telehealth-related outpatient care more broadly.

View our research publications and resources.

Principal investigators

MedStar Health

Stanford Medicine

  • Kevin Schulman, MD, professor of medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, and director of industry partnerships and education for the Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC), Stanford Medicine

  • Christopher Sharp, MD, clinical professor of medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, and chief medical information officer, Stanford Health Care

Intermountain Health

  • Bill Beninati, MD, senior medical director for telehealth services, patient placement, and transfer, life flight/classic air medical, and outreach, Intermountain Health

Stay connected

Questions about our work or how to get involved? Contact us here.

Infographic title: About our research partners: at a glance; MedStar Health, Stanford Medicine, and Intermountain Health; Region, Reach, Telehealth COVID-19 Response, and Key Research Contributors.

Page last updated: 12/5/23