(PRWEB) June 19, 2012
FirstVitals Health and Wellness, Inc., of California, in partnership with AlohaCare, Hawaii’s largest safety-net health plan, has been awarded a three year, $4 million CMS Innovation Challenge Grant to combine telemedicine, specialized care coordination and social media to help low-income diabetic people in Hawaii improve their health. The program, entitled “Improving the Health and Care of Low-Income Diabetics at Reduced Costs,” will be administered to 600 select AlohaCare QUEST members with type 1 and 2 diabetes across the islands.
The program is designed around the use of cellular-enabled blood glucose meters, internet-connected tablets and proprietary home-based imaging and sensing devices to track key clinical information and facilitate easy communication with the patient to enable early detection and prevention of complications.
FirstVitals and AlohaCare will use claims and other data to identify patients who might benefit most from this program, including those with risk factors for diabetic foot disease. Clinical data collected will be transmitted wirelessly to Care Coordinators hired specifically for the project. If thresholds are exceeded, the Care Coordinator will intervene in various ways, depending on the individual circumstances, from a text message alert to the patient or a parent, video chat using the tablet, up to a home visit; all in close partnership with the patient’s primary care provider. The project will also involve social media to educate and encourage family and friends to support the patient.
Over the three-year grant period, AlohaCare and FirstVitals will analyze data on glycemic control, emergency room visits, hospitalization, medication use and other indicators to measure both the health condition of the members and overall impact on medical care expenses. AlohaCare’s care management software enables AlohaCare to track both individual progress and the overall condition and health costs of the subject group.
David Goodman, MD, MSE, FirstVitals co-founder and Program Medical Director said, “We are honored that CMS selected the FirstVitals program to receive one of its Innovation Challenge grants. We believe that our affiliation with AlohaCare offers an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the power of innovative technology coupled with compassionate care to improve clinical outcomes while lowering costs in this very challenging population."
“This grant will directly enhance the quality of health care for these patients, as well as provide key research for the nation’s health care system about how to use technology and focused care management in a way that works,” said John McComas, Chief Executive Officer of AlohaCare. “It combines high-tech and high-touch, technology and personal service, to provide better care, better health and lower costs.”
FirstVitals, founded in 2010 to deliver scalable health, wellness and disease management programs based on proprietary technology-enabled services, is planning to deploy its unique diabetes intervention which, in addition to improving glycemic control, will incorporate technologies that can enable early identification of patients at risk of diabetes-related complications early enough to prevent, such as foot ulcers.
FirstVitals is planning to incorporate a foot care module into its intervention, because diabetic foot ulcers are one of the most feared and expensive diabetic complications. Diabetic foot ulcers are the leading cause of lower extremity amputations in the United States and diabetic foot problems are responsible for 20% of all costs of care related to diabetes.
AlohaCare is a non-profit community health plan serving about 80,000 members in the State of Hawaii’s MedQUEST Medicaid program. AlohaCare was in 1994 formed by the leaders of Hawaii’s community health centers and that partnership will be a critical feature in the success of implementing the innovation grant.
FirstVitals Contact: Ernie Lee
AlohaCare Contact: Daryl Huff
Office: (808) 973-1569
Mobile: (808) 722-9806