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Humana Tests Remote Patient Monitoring to Reduce Readmissions

   January 15, 2014

The insurer's chronic care health division is partnering with several telehealth providers to test various remote monitoring formats for common causes of readmissions.

Humana is testing a pilot project that adds a new wrinkle to patient engagement and telehealth: passive remote patient monitoring.

Humana Cares/SeniorBridge, the Louisville-based healthcare insurer's chronic care health division, is partnering with HealthSense, a provider of senior care technology, in a year-long pilot. The project uses in-home sensors and remote monitoring technology to monitor how changes in daily activities may signal a change in health status for certain Medicare Advantage enrollees.

Humana has enrolled 100 Medicare Advantage members in the pilot, which is under way in Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Many of the pilot participants are over age 70 and have multiple chronic illnesses, including congestive heart failure, COPD, diabetes, and hypertension. They have each experienced at least two hospital admissions over the past 12 months and already receive regular weekly visits from in-home care managers. They were recruited to the pilot program by the care managers.

Among the pilot goals, says Denise Streible, RN, a program manager with Humana, is to detect emerging health concerns before they turn into emergencies that could require a costly trip to the ER or a preventable hospital readmission. Those readmissions are top of mind for most providers these days as new rules make 30-day readmission rates public and can result in lower reimbursements.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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