Humana launches congestive heart failure pilot

By Bernie Monegain
10:40 AM

Healthcare insurer Humana has launched a pilot project aimed at boosting the care of its members with congestive heart failure. Humana will employ the Intel Health Guide to reach patients in their homes across the country.

Humana CEO Mike McCallister unveiled the project March 18 at Humana Cares, the St. Petersburg program that provides personalized health coaching via telephone, care management and health education and support for approximately 123,000 Humana members.

Over the next 18 months, Humana’s telehealth pilot will monitor 2,000 congestive heart failure patients across the country. Personalized monitoring allows Humana Cares nurses to coordinate member care with physicians who can adjust medications and treatment in response to measurements obtained by the Health Guide. Video monitoring allows the Humana Cares nurse to observe mood, facial expressions, breathing patterns, skin color and extremity swelling, all of which may indicate important changes in a member’s condition.

The interactive system also is designed to engage patients in taking a more active role in managing their health.

[See also: GE and Intel's 'Care Innovations' goes live.]

The computer in the patient’s home allows for two-way video between caregiver and patient. It provides daily monitoring of vital signs and could help prevent more costly health care events, such as visits to the emergency room or hospitalizations, Humana officials said.

Allowing people to age in their homes while interacting with their care providers is critical to controlling the cost of healthcare, said Doug Busch, chief operating offer for Intel-GE Care Innovations, a joint venture between Intel and GE Healthcare.

Humana Cares opened in St. Petersburg in February 2009 with about 200 associates when Humana, Florida’s largest Medicare health benefits company, expanded its commitment to implementing chronic condition management programs that incorporate a more holistic approach to managing care for the chronically ill. Today, Humana Cares employs more than 800 associates who provide integrated complex and chronic care management for about 123,000 Humana members across the country.

[See also: Chronic illness technology fuels provider utilization.]

Humana Cares nurses and social workers evaluate each member’s needs to determine the kinds of interventions that would make a difference to help them stay healthier, out of the hospital and at home, and that would improve overall quality of life.

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