Computer manufacturing company Lenovo is rolling out a new home-based virtual care solution designed to build compliance among patients with chronic conditions, many of whom are seniors. It’s doing so in partnership with Vianova Health, which created the virtual health assistant used in the new technology.
While telehealth technology has become essential amid COVID-19, Lenovo started working on the in-home care technology long before the virus reared its head. The process began about a year ago, according to Matt Mikula, global manager of health care solutions at Lenovo Health.
“You can think of the COVID-19 pandemic as just validating [and accelerating] what we’ve been doing,” Mikula told HHCN. “And if you’re going to do virtual technology, for us, it’s way more than just thinking about an e-visit. It’s more about how do we make the biggest impact?”
That’s why the new solution, Lenovo Virtual Care, targets chronic conditions, which account for about 75% of the nation’s aggregate health care spending, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The goal is to ensure that those patients follow their care plans and keep up with habits vital to their health.
“It’s more complicated than [just taking medication],” Mikula said. “It’s to check your blood sugar if you’re diabetic. It’s multiple medications and when to take them. It’s exercise programs. It’s nutritional value.”
More than half of all U.S. adults have a chronic condition, according to the CDC, and about four in 10 people have two or more. However, as many as 80% of patients drop out of their chronic disease management programs.
That’s the population the Virtual Care solution is targeting.
Here’s how it works: A patient is provided with necessary biometric devices and a virtual care kit, which includes a tablet that can only be used to run the solution. The device comes personalized and pre-loaded with that individual’s care plan.
From there, the patient is provided with a daily health-related to-do list.
That list could include things like checking blood sugar or weight. Tasks vary depending on the conditions a patient has and can be collected using provided biometric devices.
Despite doing all this at home, patients aren’t alone throughout the process.
“One of the big differentiators is that when you select one of these to do items, we have a digital assistant called Rosie,” Mikula said. “You can think of it like a conversation … between Rosie and the patient. The conversation is selected and built from the provider — whatever care they would like to give [or] whatever questions they would like that patient to see on a daily basis.”
Rosie, the invention of Vianova Health, can provide patients with feedback and information around items on their to-do lists. For example, she can perform functions such as explaining how to use tools such as a glucometer, reminding patients to complete tasks and even just telling them they did a good job.
“That’s what it’s like on the patient side,” Mikula said, noting that the process can also include an e-visit. “On the back end, the providers that are able to administer the system, see all of their patients, keep track of the reimbursable procedures and how much time they’ve spent with the patient, for example.”
So far, Lenovo is already working with “some large health systems,” with results indicating 82% daily engagement among users of the solution. On top of that, data from Vianova Health suggested that the Virtual Care solution reduced patient readmission by 18% and helped diabetes patients achieve blood sugar targets four weeks earlier than patients who only got phone-based care.
Mikula says the solution’s unique model makes it possible.
“What we’re trying to do is bridge into the place where Virtual Care can make the biggest difference,” he says. “We feel that goes well beyond the e-visit, if you will, which is what others may describe in virtual care. To make the biggest difference, you have to go after the biggest problem, and the biggest problem is about integrating this kind of technology into the lives of our patients.”
Lenovo doesn’t have any formal relationships with home health providers to deploy Virtual Care. Still, the rollout reflects the increasingly crowded field of technology powerhouses looking to get into care management and in-home care.
On its end, Lenovo has plenty of firepower to make a splash. The Beijing-based multinational company reported annual revenues of about $51.04 billion in 2019.
Lenovo Virtual Care will be available in the third quarter of the year.