A national pilot program is aiming to make care of older Americans in their homes easier through the use of in-home monitoring devices and health insurance giant Humana.
Tech provider Healthsense has partnered with Humana on the national pilot works through Humana’s Humana Cares / Senior Bridge. The insurance provider identified 100 individuals under its Medicare Advantage coverage to participate in the yearlong pilot, with Healthsense providing its remote monitoring technology platform eNeighbor to each of the individuals in the program in an effort to gather data and improve outcomes for home-based senior users.
The pilot has yet to gather public data, but Healthsense reports anecdotally, the technology is working among Humana’s customers to reduce hospital admissions and improve health outcomes.
“We’re getting [feedback] now that is pretty amazing,” says Healthsense President and CEO A.R. Weiler. “The theme is Humana does a great job of seeing what’s going on, but only an hour or two per month. This is helping them find that a lot happens that they don’t’ know about.”
The technology has allowed the companies to learn more about people between visits with Humana including behaviors such as staying in bed during the day, or frequent movement during the night. The monitoring platform can also shed light on early warning signs of health problems before they become acute, in turn preventing trips to the hospital—the frequency of which is being addressed by the Affordable Care Act in the form of limiting reimbursements to hospitals and care providers who have readmissions within 30 days of an episode.
“We think this could materially lower unplanned hospitalizations,” Weiler says.
While Healthsense has historically worked with senior care providers in community settings such as assisted living, the pilot may propel the company to work more in home settings where caregivers are not present full time.
“Proving the efficacy of [the technology] is a great way to say there’s a lot of value to provide before residents become residents,” Weiler says. “Communities more and more are being judged about how well they are taking care of seniors through readmission penalties. This is a big deal right now.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker