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Aetna and Intel’s Effort Signals Importance of Early Intervention, Remote Health Management

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 6:57am
Aetna and Intel Corporation have announced preliminary study results demonstrating how the combination of remote patient monitoring and nurse case management could improve the health of Medicare beneficiaries with Chronic Heart Failure (CHF).

Randall Krakauer, MD, FACP, FACR, Aetna's national Medicare medical director, presented initial findings from the Aetna-Intel study on Wednesday at the America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute 2010 conference in Las Vegas. The preliminary results revealed a number of successful early interventions and evidence of improved adherence from both clinicians and patients.

"Evidence shows that traditional nurse care management programs have improved outcomes and reduced avoidable hospital admissions among Medicare beneficiaries with CHF," Krakauer said. "We are attempting to enhance that approach by providing technology to our Medicare members that helps them more easily monitor warning signs - such as weight and blood pressure changes - at home. Combined with frequent discussions with Aetna nurse case managers, we believe that members engaged in remote health management will be more successful managing their health."

"This study demonstrates how the Intel Health Guide can be used to address the challenges of chronic care management," said Patricia Perry, vice president and director of product delivery for the Intel Digital Health Group. "Intel is committed to working with health care organizations such as Aetna to support more personalized and cost-efficient health care. As the number of patients with chronic conditions continues to rise, we must adopt new and innovative remote health management technologies that move us toward a more proactive care model."

This prospective, randomized clinical trial included 315 Aetna Medicare members with a diagnosis of CHF. The intervention group had 164 individuals from the overall participant pool who received the Intel® Health Guide system.

The Intel Health Guide is a comprehensive, next-generation remote health management solution that combines an in-home patient device, the Intel Health Guide PHS6000, with the Intel Health Care Management Suite, an online interface that allows clinicians to monitor patients and remotely manage care. Members in the intervention group were also provided with a weight scale and blood pressure monitor validated to accurately capture and transfer vital sign data with the Intel Health Guide.

After the Intel Health Guide system was installed for the intervention group, all participants were monitored for 6 months. During this time, participants in the intervention group recorded their weight and blood pressure daily, or as clinically appropriate. In certain instances, they were also asked to input information into the Intel Health Guide about medication adherence, exercise, as well as recent emergency room visits and hospital stays.

The Intel Health Guide provided immediate feedback to the member about that day's measurements or responses to health assessment questions, and based on the responses, the member could be offered short educational videos through the Intel Health Guide on such topics as the importance of taking medication. This data was also transmitted to the Aetna nurse case manager to help coordinate care with the member and their physician.

"While we are still in the process of reviewing the study results, we already know that there were several instances where the Intel Health Guide facilitated successful intervention," Krakauer said. "This includes timely attention to elevated blood pressure or weight readings, surfacing and addressing previous prescription drug errors, as well as facilitating timely engagement between the member and their physician or nurse case manager."

Aetna and Intel will reveal the final results of the study later this year.

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