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Insurers Curbing Hospital Admissions, Remotely

Cora Nucci, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2011
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For example, in CHF patients a patient whose weight has increased to a predetermined level will receive a phone call from a nurse, who will assess the situation, contact the treating physician, and later verify that the patient has followed up.

Optum has 20,000 CHF patients enrolled in the biometric monitoring program that over a 32-month period showed a 6.1% reduction in inpatient admissions, an 11%reduction in inpatient days, and an 8.1% drop in visits to the emergency department, Meckey says. ROI figures are impressive, too:  2.4:1 in year one, 2.7:1 in year two, and 3.0:1 in year three.

Meckey says based on these metrics, he'd be interested in exploring glucose monitoring in those with diabetes.

Anthem Blue Cross has a trial remote monitoring program of its own. In January 2010 it launched a program called CARE (Congestive Heart failure Ambulatory Remote monitoring and Engagement). Anthem provides members with a wireless Internet-connected scale and, like Optum health, provides monitoring of alerts.

Nearly one year later, Anthem medical director Kurt Tamaru, MD, reports "these devices are working to keep these folks out of the hospital … We're catching things earlier. It may not be an emergency, but it's some indication that there may be a problem developing and we can get ahead of it.

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1 comments on "Insurers Curbing Hospital Admissions, Remotely"


Jeff Charnock (1/20/2011 at 4:02 PM)
The ROI is compelling, but why couldn't this be achieved with a simple, 2-way text message sent to the patient? Removing the expense of equipment would improve the ROI. For example: "What's your weight today? Reply with your weight in pounds." We're looking for organizations to pilot 2-way text programs to study their effectiveness with CHF and Diabetes. Let me know if you're interested.