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Ochsner Sees Strong Results in RPM Program for Chronic Care Management

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   October 19, 2022

The New Orleans-based health system is seeing improved clinical outcomes in a pilot Medicaid program targeted at patients living with hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Ochsner Health is reporting strong results from a pilot remote patient monitoring program targeting Medicaid patients living with type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Billed as one of the first in the country, the program, coordinated by Ochsner Digital Medicine, saw nearly half of participating patients dealing with uncontrolled hypertension bring their blood pressure under control within 90 days, a 23% improvement over traditional care management. And almost 60% of those with poorly controlled diabetes were able to improve their blood-glucose readings and A1c levels.

“So meaningfully moving the needle among Medicaid patients with type 2 diabetes and hypertension is unprecedented," Denise Basow, MD, the New Orleans-based health system's first and current chief digital officer, said in a press release. “We are confident this program can be scaled to improve the lives of others across the state and around the country to mitigate the impacts of chronic disease.”

The RPM program was launched in June 2020 at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport, and has enrolled more than 4,400 patients. Health system officials noted the program addresses a serious gap in chronic care management in Louisiana, where roughly 40% live with hypertension and 14% lives with diabetes.

RPM programs hold great potential in bringing care management out of the hospital, clinic and doctor's office and into the home, where providers can monitor a patient's daily health and habits and adjust care (including medication) accordingly. With digital health technology, they can capture relevant data to identify trends and support treatment plans.

Ochsner is one of the top health systems in the country with regard to digital health strategy, and has been gradually building out several programs on a national platform. Data from the RPM program could be used to support arguments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to improve Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

“As clinicians, we are always working to improve patient outcomes and the overall patient experience, and this program shows that we can use home-based technologies to accomplish both," Lauren Beal, MD, Ochsner's medical director of primary care and community clinics for northwest Louisiana, said in the press release.

One of the keys to a sustainable RPM program is sustainable clinical outcomes, and Ochsner officials noted that those living with hypertension continued to show positive results after 18 months. In addition, the program was well-received by patients, with a net promoter score greater than 91.

Ochsner officials said they'll continue to work with payers and employers to improve reimbursement, which would allow the health system to expand the program to other parts of the state and, eventually, other parts of the country.

“Over 30,000 patients have benefited from Ochsner’s Digital Medicine chronic disease programs,” Richard Milani, MD, Ochsner's chief clinical transformation officer and vice-chairman of the Department of Cardiology, said in the press release. “We're offering patients compassionate human care combined with the power of technology, and we’ll continue to expand these programs to help more patient populations.”

Eric Wicklund is the Innovation and Technology Editor for HealthLeaders.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Ochsner Health launched a remote patient monitoring program in 2020 to address high rates of type 2 diabetes and hypertension in Louisiana.

The program, enrolling more than 4,400 patients, enables care teams to gather data from patients at home and improve care management as needed.

Nearly half of participating patients living with hypertension brought their blood pressure under control within 90 days, and almost 60% of those living with diabetes were able to improve their health as well. 


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