New initiative integrates mobile technology and data analytics into coordinated care for frequent healthcare users. Project significantly reduces hospitalization costs while promoting patient engagement, health and wellbeing.
Centerstone Research Institute (CRI), Ginger.io and Verizon have combined their expertise in behavioral healthcare, analytics and mobile technology to launch a new program – coactionHealth – aimed at helping people with complex mental and physical health conditions better manage their health and significantly reduce healthcare costs.
“Five percent of high-utilizer Medicaid beneficiaries represent more than half of the state Medicaid dollars spent each year,” said Tom Doub, PhD, CEO of Centerstone Research Institute. “These individuals typically have co-occurring mental and physical disorders that make managing their care difficult. Understanding their needs and finding ways to help them better manage their health is critical in controlling healthcare costs.”
In April 2014, CRI, Ginger.io, Verizon and other partners began a three-month pilot of coactionHealth. coactionHealth is an intervention program for individuals with complex behavioral health disorders that promotes greater health and wellbeing through a high-touch, high-tech healthcare model. The pilot involved high Medicaid-utilizer patients—those with more than $25,000 in annual healthcare-related expenses—who also have co-occurring mental and physical health needs, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and diabetes.
In addition to mobile surveys, the program provided participants a high intensity wellness coach who was available at a hospital, at their homes and remotely through mobile technologies. It also featured a support team that included a consultant, an on-call nurse and a supervising licensed therapist. Additionally, participants received a technology package with mobile phones, health data tracking applications and connectivity tools for communicating with their support team. Through Verizon’s support, patients were connected to clinicians in real time through smartphones and mobile apps.
“The fusion of healthcare with mobile technology brings countless benefits including reduced healthcare costs, easier management of regulatory compliance mandates, improved communication between patients and medical professionals, remote monitoring for patients’ well-being, improved clinical outcomes and reduced patient visits,” said Leslie Baker, healthcare specialist for Verizon Wireless. “Verizon has invested billions in network reliability and transmission security efforts to ensure our mobile technology can provide the speed, reliability and security to make the benefits of mHealth solutions a reality.”
coactionHealth was highly effective in reducing hospitalizations and readmissions, promoting behavior changes to comply with healthier living. Participants experienced fewer hospitalization days during the three-month pilot than they experienced in the three months prior, with none of the engaged participants experiencing hospital stays during the intervention. Additionally, the program decreased participants’ needs related to home mobility, personal care, nutrition and a safe living environment by 55 percent.
Prior to coactionHealth, none of the participants felt confident managing their healthcare conditions, yet an astounding 100 percent reported feeling confident doing so just 30 days into the intervention. One participant reported that she lost nearly 20 pounds during the pilot and is no longer diabetic. Another was able to stabilize her diabetes and is now more active. Through the program, the root cause of her frequent hospitalizations was discovered, and she has not had an emergency room visit or a hospitalization since enrolling in the program.
“Providers now have access to more data from more sources than ever before, and connecting that data to physical and mental wellness represents an enormous opportunity to improve outcomes,” said Anmol Madan, co-founder and CEO of Ginger.io. “We’re helping providers shift from an episodic view of their patients’ health to a continuous and more comprehensive understanding of personal health trends. The CRI program shows how targeted outreach and an improved patient-provider connection can empower patients to take control of their own health.”
As part of the coactionHealth program, Ginger.io sends participants a few simple questions each day through a mobile application on their phones to survey individuals on their mental wellbeing. Certain patient inputs trigger alerts that notify caregivers, allowing them to monitor the behavior of participants and intervene if trends appear abnormal—for example, in the presence of depression, social isolation or suicidal ideations. Additionally, the platform gives patients the ability to track and view their answers over time with a care manager, presenting a snapshot of behavioral trends and treatment progress. Ginger.io also provides the ability to collect passive data using sensors present on most smartphones.
“The coactionHealth pilot demonstrated that technology can be a vital tool in advancing behavioral healthcare and making the healthcare system more efficient and effective for people with chronic and complex conditions,” added Dr. Doub. “By integrating mobile solutions and data analytics into a coordinated care program, CRI, Ginger.io and Verizon were able to not only reduce hospitalization costs, but create a positive mental and physical change for participants.”
With the pilot program’s success, coactionHealth is now poised to expand to include 95 patients, and a number of providers are looking to implement the intervention program.
About Centerstone Research Institute
Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care for those with mental health and addiction disorders. CRI provides research, analytics and evaluation services that help bridge the gap between the scientific discovery of effective treatments and the implementation of these treatments into standard clinical practice. CRI is funded through contracts, grants, foundations and individual donors who share the organization’s commitment to bridging the gap between science and service. Learn more about CRI at www.centerstoneresearch.org.
Ginger.io uses smartphones to improve behavioral and mental health. Through passive data and deep analytics, this mobile application identifies patterns in patients’ behavior and mental state that may impact their health and well-being. Providers can use the Ginger.io platform to reach out when patients need support and deliver the right care at the right time—building a stronger connection between patients and providers. Ginger.io is currently working with leading U.S. healthcare institutions including Kaiser Permanente, UCSF, Novant Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. A spinoff from the MIT Media Lab, Ginger.io was recently named one of The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Healthcare by Fast Company. Learn more about Ginger.io’s Behavioral Health Program at www.ginger.io/for-providers/behavioral-health/
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network. As the largest wireless company in the U.S., Verizon Wireless serves 104.6 million retail customers, including 98.6 million retail postpaid customers. Verizon Wireless is wholly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. For the latest news and updates about Verizon Wireless, visit our News Center at http://www.verizonwireless.com/news or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/VZWNews.