AHIP: Remote health management improves outcomes, prelim data suggests
A combination of remote patient monitoring and traditional nurse care management has improved outcomes and reduced avoidable hospital admissions among Medicare beneficiaries with chronic heart failure (CHF), according to preliminary study results from Aetna and Intel.

Randall Krakauer, MD, Aetna’s national Medicare medical director, presented initial findings from the Aetna-Intel study at the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute 2010 conference in Las Vegas. The preliminary results revealed a number of successful early interventions and evidence of improved adherence from both clinicians and patients, according to Krakauer.

“We are attempting to enhance [our] approach by providing technology to our Medicare members that helps them easily monitor warning signs -- such as weight and blood pressure changes -- at home. [W]e believe that members engaged in remote health management will be more successful managing their health,” said Krakauer.

This prospective, randomized clinical trial included 315 Aetna Medicare members with a diagnosis of CHF. The intervention group had 164 individuals from the overall participant pool who were monitored for six months on the Intel Health Guide system, a remote health management tool combining an in-home patient device with the Intel HealthCare Management Suite.

During this time, participants in the intervention group recorded their weight and blood pressure daily, or as clinically appropriate. In certain instances, they were also asked to input information about medication adherence, exercise, as well as recent emergency room visits and hospital stays.

According to Krakauer, the system provided feedback to the member about daily measurements or responses to health assessment questions, and based on the responses, the member could be offered short educational videos through the Intel Health Guide on such topics as the importance of taking medication. This data was also transmitted to the nurse case manager to help coordinate care with the member and their physician.

“While we are still in the process of reviewing the study results, we already know that there were several instances where the system facilitated successful intervention, including timely attention to elevated blood pressure or weight readings,” Krakauer concluded.

Aetna and Intel stated they will reveal the final results of the study later this year.