Healthcare payer Cigna’s Healthspring Medicare plan unit has been piloting a congestive heart failure (CHF) care management program with Intel-GE Care Innovations in Tennessee to reduce same-cause hospital readmissions. The initial year-long 50-patient program is being expanded to 250 patients who have had a CHF diagnosis plus a previous ER visit or hospital admission. Patients are supplied at no cost a blood pressure cuff, a scale and the Care Innovations Guide on a tablet platform. Daily biometrics are sent to Cigna-HealthSpring nurse practitioners, and also complete an educational program to help them manage their CHF at home. After a 90-day minimum, once certain goals (e.g. weight loss, blood pressure and heart rate) are met, the patients stay in the program, the tablet is withdrawn but they continue to monitor and log their vitals with a case manager. What is curious about this seemingly anodyne pilot is:
- There are no published results other than a general ‘dramatic reductions in need for hospitalization’ and ‘as high as 75 percent reduction in hospital readmissions’ statements by CEO Sean Slovenski.
- The Care Innovations Guide is not to be found on their website. Their featured platforms are Connect RCM and Connect Caregiver. The last mention of the Guide is in this 2013 press release where the Guide has a broken link to the website. Is this the last iteration of the Intel Guide or something custom (bespoke) for the pilot?
- If the tablet is being withdrawn, how are biometric results sent to the care manager? Other telehealth monitoring? Manual recording? Interactive voice response (IVR)? A combination?
Addendum 8 October:
Care Innovations’ response to above questions #1 and #2:
- Hospital readmissions question: We don’t have data for all participating patients aggregated just yet but the results we’ve observed thus far have been extremely promising, not just for reduced readmissions, but for patient’s changing health behaviors to engage and take ownership in their health so that they can consistently better manage their CHF symptoms in a healthy range. However, here is some specific readmission information for the two patient examples (see the press release–Ed. D). Since Elizabeth was enrolled in the CHF program, she has not been admitted to the hospital or ER for more than a year. Prior to joining the program, she had been admitted to the hospital within the past 12 months. Margery has successfully avoided both hospital and ER admissions for 11 months and during the 12 months prior to joining the program, she had been admitted to the hospital five times for CHF-related symptoms.
- Guide questions: Healthspring is using the Guide because the original pilot program was conducted with the Guide and it made sense to scale the pilot with the same device. Care Innovations is not actively promoting the Guide on our website because we are moving to device-agnostic solutions, which we have found simplify the deployment process and reduces costs for remote care management programs. This approach also enhances mobility and ease of use for patients because they no longer need to be tethered to a single-purpose telehealth device in their homes.
An answer to #3 is not yet public but will be disclosed by end of this year. Rapid reply above thanks to Rachel Radcliff of ReviveHealth speaking for Intel-GE Care Innovations.