Anthem Blue Cross Contracts with IDEAL LIFE Biometrics – Blue Tooth Wireless Body Weight Scales for Home Monitoring With A
Posted Jan 06 2010 3:13pm
Clinical algorithms of care can be managed for each patient’s need. I talk quite a bit about devices that report data and home monitoring on this blog and here’s one of the first agreements working with an insurance company. You stand on the scale, and it’s done, information going to where it is designated, to you the patient, to your doctor and other locations that have been set up.
The C.A.R.E. (Congestive Heart Failure Ambulatory Remote Monitoring and Engagement) program is here to keep patients out of the hospital with early warnings. The key is with this scale, if the patient all of a sudden puts on a lot of weight in a short amount of time, the provider or case worker can intervene and investigate. If you eat a lot of food in a few days, it will show that too with others being aware of an extra ordinary feed session even if you are not suffering heart failure. Anthem Blue Cross as the press release states will be working with IPA (Independent physician associations) and HMO groups. The project is spear headed from Woodland Hills in southern California so I might guess some activity in this area might be seen here first.
The company has also talked about their “chair scale” which is also blue tooth, but I believe that is still in the works. The chair has a maximum weight of 400#. There is no mention on cost so I am assuming Blue Cross is either covering part or all of the cost in order to have the data. In addition I am guessing that the data produced will also lead to some de-identified statistics on how useful the device is with saving lives due to advance notice for early detection of congestive heart failure. Now the the next part of this puzzle is to engage the providers with the software and time needed to monitor and a PHR or EHR is the place to go so all information is centralized without having an physician having another area of data to search and be responsible for the patient follow up.
From a patient’s perspective, ask who gets to see the data and where the servers are that will gather the information and read the fine print of any waiver or contract you may have to sign to authorize the use of biometric devices. Always ask these questions with any remote monitoring for your own privacy and security information. I mention this as there are very few laws that protect you and with today’s status of affairs with healthcare and rapidly moving technology you need to know everything up front so information gathered does not end up as being any type of basis for denying claims or creating a circumstance of an pre-existing condition when algorithmic business intelligence software is run to determine what your cost level is as a patient that could impact higher premiums or denied claims. Blue Cross right now in California has been under fire for rescission of policies so again, read up and make sure all the rules are lined up legally up front and that you are the informed patient and realize that all insurance companies are “scoring” your health perhaps in more ways than one. Behavioral underwriting is being actively used today and devices that report data are part of the entire game plan.
Here’s are a couple past posts that describe the agreement Wellpoint has with Red Brick Insurance who does business with Ingenix, a subsidiary of United Health Care that runs all the software and algorithms to score you. Be aware and read up on how all the different companies and business models are intertwined. BD
Ingenix as we all know is still settling a number of law suits from the 8-9 year use of the data base that over charged patients for out of network healthcare bills and paid physicians less than billed.
Woodland Hills, CA, January 5, 2010 – Anthem Blue Cross announced today that it has contracted with IDEAL LIFE® to provide wireless body weight scales for in-home use with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) patients. This initiative is the foundation of a new pilot program known as C.A.R.E. (Congestive Heart Failure Ambulatory Remote monitoring and Engagement). The program’s goal is to utilize IDEAL LIFE’s Bluetooth-enabled remote monitoring devices to more efficiently triage members with chronic heart conditions, identifying patients at risk for a possible acute health crisis, and helping to prevent costly and unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Anthem Blue Cross will be deploying these remote monitoring devices with clinical oversight provided by participating HMO medical groups and independent practice associations caring for these patients.
Despite numerous advances in disease management programs, CHF remains a significant and costly health condition to manage. While individuals with CHF represent a relatively small percentage of the overall population, these patients carry significant health risks and require close coordination with their healthcare team to optimally manage their condition. Traditional approaches to treating CHF patients have depended upon patients monitoring and recording changes in their own health conditions, which can indicate a possible worsening of their condition. This daily record-keeping and lifestyle-modification can be time-consuming and difficult for some patients, and often poses a challenge to producing a lasting, positive impact on health outcomes.
IDEAL LIFE’s remote monitoring system routinely monitors a patient’s biometric data and wirelessly transmits the results via a standard telephone line to a secure data repository. The information is collected 24/7 and communicated in real-time to patients and their healthcare team of physicians, care givers, and case managers. The body weight scale used in the C.A.R.E pilot program will facilitate timely intervention for individuals who have a sudden increase in body weight, which is associated with hospitalization for heart failure. If weight fluctuations are recorded, a healthcare provider or case manager can immediately intervene, avoiding a potential health crisis.
“Our expectation is that this pilot program will result in a more efficient way to manage chronic care conditions, while helping to enhance the prioritization of which patients may need help at any given time. This electronic smart messaging 24/7 in the home with real time response should result in higher response rates at a fraction of the current healthcare costs,” said Dr. Kurt Tamaru, Anthem Blue Cross C.A.R.E. Clinical Program Lead.
Each IDEAL LIFE scale comes with a messaging device that has a text messaging window so patients can receive timely feedback and information that enhances greater awareness of their own health and allows for better communication with their healthcare team. In addition, clinical algorithms of care can be tailored to an individual member’s specific needs.
“We believe the Anthem Blue Cross C.A.R.E. program will not only reduce hospital readmissions and healthcare costs, it will also enable CHF patients to better manage their condition and to live more independently,” noted Jason Goldberg, president of IDEAL LIFE. “Remote monitoring has enormous potential for access to quality healthcare in this country.”
About Anthem Blue Cross:
Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.
About IDEAL LIFE:
IDEAL LIFE is a multinational company that delivers timely and accurate health information through collaborative solutions that are secure, reliable, and mobile. The FDA-approved products are wireless, easy-to-use and available for a fraction of the cost of competing products, requiring no extra cables, a computer, or extra steps. With an open technology platform that supports customization and seamlessly integrates with existing information based systems, IDEAL LIFE eliminates the need for new software or data reconfiguration. Products are designed for individuals with chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and obesity. For more information, visit www.ideallifeonline.com.