Centerstone Research Institute (CRI), Ginger.io and Verizon have teamed-up to launch a new program, coactionHealth, aimed at helping people with complex mental and physical health conditions better manage their health and significantly reduce healthcare costs.
“Five percent of high-utilizer Medicaid beneficiaries represent more than half of the state Medicaid dollars spent each year,” said Tom Doub, PhD, CEO of Centerstone Research Institute. “These individuals typically have co-occurring mental and physical disorders that make managing their care difficult. Understanding their needs and finding ways to help them better manage their health is critical in controlling healthcare costs.”
In April 2014, the three parties and few other partners began a three-month pilot of coactionHealth. The pilot involved high Medicaid-utilizer patients — those with more than $25,000 in annual healthcare-related expenses — who also have co-occurring mental and physical health needs, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and diabetes.
The program provided participants mobile surveys, an all-present high intensity wellness coach, and a support team consisting of a consultant, an on-call nurse and a supervising licensed therapist. Each participant also received a technology package with mobile phones, health data tracking applications and connectivity tools for communicating with their support team.
The initiative integrates mobile technology and data analytics into coordinated care for frequent healthcare users.“The fusion of healthcare with mobile technology brings countless benefits including reduced healthcare costs, easier management of regulatory compliance mandates, improved communication between patients and medical professionals, remote monitoring for patients’ well-being, improved clinical outcomes and reduced patient visits,” said Leslie Baker, healthcare specialist for Verizon Wireless.
coactionHealth was highly effective in reducing hospitalizations and readmissions, promoting behavior changes to comply with healthier living. Participants experienced fewer hospitalization days during the three-month pilot than they experienced in the three months prior, with none of the engaged participants experiencing hospital stays during the intervention. What’s more, the program decreased participants’ needs related to home mobility, personal care, nutrition and a safe living environment by 55%.
Prior to coactionHealth, none of the participants felt confident managing their healthcare conditions, yet an astounding 100% reported feeling confident doing so just 30 days into the intervention! One participant reported that she lost nearly 20 pounds during the pilot and is no longer diabetic. Another was able to stabilize her diabetes and is now more active.
“The fusion of healthcare with mobile technology brings countless benefits” – Leslie Baker, healthcare specialist for Verizon Wireless.According to Ginger.io’s co-founder and CEO Anmol Madan, [with mobile technology] providers are now able to “shift from an episodic view of their patients’ health to a continuous and more comprehensive understanding of personal health trends.”
As part of the coactionHealth program, Ginger.io sends participants a few simple questions each day through a mobile application on their phones to survey individuals on their mental wellbeing. Certain patient inputs trigger alerts that notify caregivers, allowing them to monitor the behavior of participants and intervene if trends appear abnormal. Additionally, the platform gives patients the ability to track and view their answers over time with a care manager, presenting a snapshot of behavioral trends and treatment progress. Ginger.io also enables passive data collection using sensors present on most smartphones.
With the pilot program’s success, coactionHealth is now poised to expand to include 95 patients, and a number of providers are looking to implement the intervention program.