Cigna, Intel-GE expand RPM trial for Medicare heart patients

By Aditi Pai
05:40 am

Cigna-Healthspring Intel-GE Care InnovationsCigna-Healthspring, a subsidiary of Newtown, Massachusetts-based payor Cigna that specializes in Medicare plans, is expanding its congestive heart failure remote patient monitoring program in partnership with Intel-GE Care Innovations.

The two organizations first piloted the program with 50 patients in Tennessee. These members, who had been recently admitted to the hospital for CHF complications, received a tablet on which they could track their health for at least 90 days. During this time, they also interacted via digital devices with a Cigna-Healthspring nurse practitioner, tracked their health metrics, and completed a program that educated them on how to manage their congestive heart failure at home. 

“We have seen dramatic reductions in the need for hospitalization in our first year of the program pilot with Cigna-HealthSpring," Intel-GE Care Innovations CEO Sean Slovenski said in a statement. "We also recently worked with many hospitals across the country to create successful remote care management programs and have seen as high as a 75 percent reduction in hospital readmissions. We’ve learned that a successful program is as much about the logistical details as it is about the technology...By monitoring and engaging CHF patients as they go about their daily lives, we are able to catch problems early, involve the doctor immediately and ultimately avoid unnecessary ER visits, hospital stays and worsening of the patients’ health.”

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Because of the successful pilot, Cigna-HealthSpring recruited another 250 members to participate in the expanded program. In this program, on top of the tablet, patients will also receive remote patient monitoring tools including a blood pressure cuff and connected scale. Like the pilot program, participants will connect with a nurse practitioner during the 90-day time frame. After the program ends, the patients will begin monitoring their health indicators without the tablet, but will continue to monitor their weight and blood pressure with a case manager.

“What makes this program so special is that customers know they have easy and direct access to a Cigna-HealthSpring nurse practitioner, someone who truly cares about them and their health,” Cigna-HealthSpring of Tennessee Senior Medical Director Dr. Jim Lancaster said in a statement. “They feel empowered to learn how they can impact their own health.”