Humana, WellPoint: Video chats, wireless tracking

By Brian Dolan
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Ideal Life Bodymanager ScaleThe Wall Street Journal published a feature on wireless health services and devices that payers across the country are currently piloting, including a note that in January Humana "will launch a program to track heart patients' vital signs wirelessly and link them up via video to chat with nurses if appropriate."

Perhaps the most interesting trend highlighted in the WSJ report is video chats coupled with wireless monitoring: "Both Humana and WellPoint are incorporating video-chat into their approaches to connect members more closely with nurses."

The WSJ report also mentions a congestive heart failure (CHF) pilot Anthem Blue Cross is running with Ideal Life's connected weight scale. We first wrote about this pilot back in January (more here.)

The report also mentions a program that Aetna is conducting with Intel for CHF patients -- we first wrote about this pilot last month after the companies presented results from the pilot at the America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) conference (more here).

Finally, the report makes mention of a program in New York City that equips patients at home with a scale, blood-pressure cuff and glucose monitor that collects data daily via wireless or landline. The program is run by New York City Health and Hospitals and sounds a lot like the program that group launched in 2006: House Calls.

Read on for more from the WSJ report (sub. req.)