Recently, Geneia LLC (Geneia) announced the results of a year-long remote patient monitoring pilot program, which compared the experience of Capital BlueCross members diagnosed with heart failure (HF), who enrolled and actively participated in Geneia’s remote patient monitoring program, to a control group of non-monitored members with statistically similar pre-program risk scores. The study evaluated clinical, utilization and cost outcomes, and patient experience.
The results were gratifying and yielded a savings of $8,375 per monitored patient per year. To put this into context, accounting for program costs and expected participation rates, a typical one-million-member health plan could save about $1.1 million per year.
In addition to cost savings, the pilot program slowed disease progression, reduced hospitalizations and improved patient experience. You can read more about the results of the pilot program here.
But just as important as the numbers, and perhaps even more so, is the effect on patients. Consider the following real patient experiences from our pilot program:*
Mrs. Emma Smith
Mrs. Smith is a 97-year-old female who participates in the remote monitoring program. Her family has provided around-the-clock home healthcare so she is able to continue to live at home. Mrs. Smith suffers from health conditions in addition to heart failure, including heart disease and an irregular heart rhythm. She joined Geneia’s pilot program in mid-2015. In the year prior to her enrollment, she had one hospital admission for HF.
Through the collaborative efforts of her case manager, remote patient monitoring nurse, healthcare provider, home health aides and family members, Mrs. Smith has maintained her health and quality of life. These efforts have included developing and implementing a HF action plan; educating on the importance of proper diet; and training on the proper use of remote monitoring equipment.
Mrs. Smith’s family members express high levels of satisfaction with the program and the invaluable support it has given them with their mother’s care. She has been in the program for 11 months and has had no further HF events.
Mr. Jack Jones
Mr. Jack Jones is a 75-year-old male with a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, HF and hypertension. When he entered the remote patient monitoring program in early 2015, he was on continuous oxygen and his blood sugar and blood pressure were not well controlled. Being on continuous oxygen kept him home bound and increased his risk for falls due to the extension tubing he had to use to get around his house. He was afraid to travel to a family member’s wedding due to his poor health.
Once enrolled in the remote monitoring program, Mr. Jones received an education plan tailored to his needs and instructions on using the equipment. A nurse reviews his vital signs daily. If she notes a trend or missed measurement, she calls Mr. Jones and assesses whether an intervention is required. She educates him on proper diet, deep breathing exercises, and the importance of adhering to his treatment plan.
In the almost year and a half since Mr. Jones has been in the program, many positive changes have occurred. He no longer wears oxygen continuously. His blood pressure is normal and he is now on only one blood pressure medication. Daily blood sugar checks have helped better control his levels and reduced the need for insulin. He has had no hospital admissions or ED visits. All these improvements in his physical health meant Mr. Jones was able to attend the family wedding. He is no longer a homebody and can enjoy going out with friends.
Mr. Harold Brown
Mr. Harold Brown is a 77-year-old male who joined the remote patient monitoring program in spring 2015. His life changed suddenly when he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with HF. He was concerned his life would never again be the same.
Through a series of assessments, Mr. Brown’s remote patient monitoring nurse was able to quickly identify his learning needs and develop an individualized care plan to help get him on the path to condition awareness, self-management and healthy living. His wife is his biggest cheerleader and has supported him throughout this process. Using the remote monitoring equipment, his remote patient monitoring nurse has been able to determine where he needs the most assistance. For example, Mr. Brown struggled with intermittent weight gain. When his nurse discovered he liked salty food, she worked with him to help him understand his salt limitations and make healthier food choices
Now, Mr. Brown can look at his measurements, especially his weight, and see how his choices impact his life. He is accountable for his own health and treatment plan. He is able to enjoy life and participate in the things he loves most. The remote patient monitoring program has helped him better understand and self-manage his condition. And to date, he has not had any further hospital admissions or ED visits for HF.
The remote patient monitoring program is not a panacea for chronic disease. But when combined with a quality case management program, appropriate clinical support and a robust technology platform capable of collecting and synthesizing biometric device data, remote patient monitoring can mean the difference between patients transitioning earlier into more expensive facility-based care and losing their independence verses staying in their own homes and leading happier, healthier lives.
*The stories presented here are used with permission. Names, likeness and certain identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.