Health plan to offer Telcare BGM to members

By Brian Dolan
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Telcare Blood Glucose MeterA health plan that services self-funded employers in New York and New Jersey, MagnaCare, recently announced that it would offer Telcare's cellular-enabled blood glucose meter to its members. MagnaCare said the device and its corresponding apps will help its members be more proactive in managing their own health conditions, while also helping physicians stay better informed.

The deal with MagnaCare marks the first publicly announced distribution channel for the recently FDA-cleared, cellular-enabled glucose meter.

Here's how the Telcare BGM offering works: Telcare BGM is a 3G-enabled blood glucose meter that wirelessly transmits glucose values using T-Mobile USA’s wireless network to an FDA-cleared online clinical server. Clinicians can then view the data if that server connects up to their electronic medical records system. The data is also pulled into a smartphone app that can be accessed by the user or by caregivers. Telcare says the device "transmits real-time access to readings, provides feedback and enables physicians and caregivers to intervene when blood glucose levels reach dangerous levels."

The Wall Street Journal's tech columnist Walt Mossberg recently gave the device a rather positive review.

“The biggest challenge in the treatment of diabetes is compliance, which, with a ten percent improvement in glucose control, can reduce the incidence of complications by thirty-seven percent,” Dr. Jonathan C. Javitt, CEO and Vice Chairman of Telcare stated. “The Telcare BGM was developed to eliminate non-compliance and inconsistency in tracking numbers."

The executive team leading Telcare is impressive: Javitt is a former healthcare advisor in both the Clinton and Bush Administrations and he has previously founded four publicly-traded health IT companies some of which eventually got acquired by Siemens, Aetna and UnitedHealth Group. Javitt co-founded Telcare with John Dwyer, who previously served as CEO of e-MEDx and COO of Active Health Management, which was acquired by Aetna in 2005. Dwyer worked there with Javitt. After his last executive assignment as the CEO of Vetcentric, a specialty on-line pharmacy, he joined the Washington based law firm of Arent Fox LLP advising numerous early stage healthcare technology and biotechnology companies. (More on the executive team here.) Telcare's team also includes Matt Tendler, one of the original developers of the popular GlucoseBuddy app.

More on the MagnaCare deal in the announcement below:

NEW YORK & BETHESDA, Md. -- MagnaCare, a health plan management company, announced today its partnership with Bethesda, M.D.-based Telcare, Inc. in order to provide a unique level of quality care to its clients living with diabetes. Through this partnership, MagnaCare’s clients will be among the first in the country to receive the Telcare BGM, the first-ever wireless-enabled blood glucose meter.

“This partnership represents MagnaCare’s commitment to utilizing cutting-edge technology and empowering patients to be more proactive in their own care, while supporting physicians with meaningful information that enables them to generate better outcomes, prevent complications and participate in care management that mitigates costly treatments or hospitalizations.”

The Telcare BGM automatically transmits readings to an FDA-cleared, privacy-secured online database that can be accessed via web browser or smartphone apps by patients, physicians, caregivers or family members, as authorized by the patient. The Telcare BGM transmits real-time access to readings, provides feedback and enables physicians and caregivers to intervene when blood glucose levels reach dangerous levels.

“The biggest challenge in the treatment of diabetes is compliance, which, with a ten percent improvement in glucose control, can reduce the incidence of complications by thirty-seven percent,” says Jonathan C. Javitt, M.D., MPH, CEO and Vice Chairman, Telcare. “The Telcare BGM was developed to eliminate non-compliance and inconsistency in tracking numbers. Through the simplified dissemination of information that is usable and functional, this unique technology is truly impactful in terms of connecting provider to patient.”

The Telcare product represents the first of a new generation of wireless medical devices, designed to connect people with chronic illness to caregivers. The result of a partnership between Telcare, and Qualcomm, Inc., manufacturer of many of the internal components of today’s cell phones, the product is being launched this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where it is ranked as one of the semi-finalists in the famous “Last Gadget Standing” competition. In a review of the Telcare product in the Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg called it “a significant step towards bringing consumer medical devices closer to the world of modern technology.”

Joseph Berardo Jr., CEO and president of MagnaCare says, “The critical aspect of this product for many of MagnaCare’s clients is that it offers an opportunity to connect patients with loved ones. For the first time, the parent of a school-age child with diabetes can be informed of every blood sugar level -- or those out of range -- on his or her cell phone.”

The Telcare BGM® is paired with Telcare’s back-end clinical server and a suite of smartphone apps designed to provide comprehensive access to care. The server connects directly to electronic medical record systems, while the phone apps are used by family members.

Berardo adds, “This partnership represents MagnaCare’s commitment to utilizing cutting-edge technology and empowering patients to be more proactive in their own care, while supporting physicians with meaningful information that enables them to generate better outcomes, prevent complications and participate in care management that mitigates costly treatments or hospitalizations.”

About Telcare

Telcare developed the first-ever blood glucose meter, the FDA-approved Telcare BGM, that automatically and wirelessly transmits glucose readings to a private online database that can be accessed by the patient, physician, caregiver or family member. Co-founded by Dr. Jonathan C. Javitt, a former healthcare advisor in both the Clinton and Bush Administrations, and founder of four publicly-traded health IT companies, Telcare relies on award-winning cellular machine-2-machine technology to bridge the gap between patients and their caregivers in order to improve care. Visit http://telcare.com.

About MagnaCare

MagnaCare, a health plan management company, is proactively reducing the cost of healthcare by offering self-funding options for employers of every size – as few as 15 employees in N.J. and 50 in N.Y. For more than 20 years MagnaCare has served commercial insurers such as health, workers compensation, or no fault, TPA’s, government entities, and labor markets. MagnaCare offers access to a broad provider network, predictive modeling analyses, member outreach programs or an integrated solution that includes full plan management services. Services include claims adjudication, eligibility management, client/customer service, and a full suite of products. MagnaCare was selected to the esteemed “Modern Healthcare’s 2010 and 2011 Best Places to Work in Healthcare.” Visit www.magnacare.com, www.facebook.com/magnacare, http://www.twitter.com/magnacare, http://blog.magnacare.com.