Population health management is more than just an industry buzzword: It’s an increasingly effective way to manage the outcomes of a broad group of patients in a way that’s both effective and cost-efficient — no small accomplishment in an era where the risk of chronic disease is still trending upwards with “no sign of abating,” per a brief from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“Trends show an overall increase in chronic diseases,” write the authors of a 2018 study of chronic illness in the United States. “The nation’s aging population, coupled with existing risk factors (tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity) and medical advances that extend longevity (if not also improve overall health), have led to the conclusion that these problems are only going to magnify if not effectively addressed now.”
High on the list of harmful chronic illnesses is diabetes. With a total economic cost of $327 in the United States — people with diabetes experience healthcare costs that 2.3 times higher than those without, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) — diabetes is among the country’s most costly conditions, and has long cried out for more effective long-term solutions.
Population health management, with its emphasis not just on day-to-day condition treatment but also on inspiring lifelong behavior change that drives real results, is meeting the challenge. And remote patient management (RPM) is proving itself a powerful way to implement population health management for diabetes.
Pioneering New Solutions in Population Health Management for Diabetes with Remote Patient Management
Population health management isn’t exactly a new concept. Coined decades ago, the term is already entrenched within the industry, including a number of academic journals dedicated to examining the idea to its fullest. Yet in recent years, innovators have harnessed capabilities in data-gathering, analytical advancements, and consumer tech to take the possibilities of population care to all-new levels.
“As population care for diabetes continues to evolve, future initiatives should consider ways to tailor population care to meet individual patient needs, while leveraging improvements in clinical information systems and care integration to optimally manage and prevent diabetes in the future,” write the authors of a 2017 study on population health management for diabetes.
Daunting though these goals may seem, they’re being increasingly realized by the expert application of telehealth technology. Indeed, offerings like the Care Innovations® Health Harmony RPM platform utilize not just advanced technological expertise for patient access and program customization, but also integrate behavioral change principles to help truly engage and motivate patients.
“Remote patient management models can help people to learn how to self support, self manage, or engage with healthy behaviors and track those healthy behaviors perhaps even outside of the traditional clinical model," as Care Innovations Chief Clinical Officer Julie Cherry (RN, MSN) explains in a video from the RPM Academy.
“Remote patient management keeps patients engaged by having daily contact, where the patient feels like their protocol or their session is really tailored towards them as a person,” adds CEO Randy Swanson. “They're able to put in information, they're able to communicate with their care team. But at the end of the day, it's all about that individual.”
Diabetes Population Health Management Success Story: The Mississippi Diabetes Telehealth Network
The most successful example of RPM-enabled diabetes population health management may be the Mississippi Diabetes Telehealth Network, a project spearheaded by clinical experts at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and built upon the Health Harmony platform. In its first year of implementation, the network achieved a series of remarkable accomplishments among 100 patients, including:
- No hospitalizations or emergency department visits
- An average 7% A1C reduction
- A cost savings of more than $28,000 per month for just 100 patients
Indeed, so successful has the Mississippi Diabetes Telehealth Network shown itself to be in population health management for diabetes that UMMC quickly expanded the program to include other chronic conditions like congestive heart failure (CFD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and hypertension.
“After seeing the success derived through our diabetes program with Care Innovations and the improvement in quality of life it provided for those enrolled, we are ready to extend the benefits to other chronically ill populations and healthcare organizations who share our vision of a healthcare system that extends into the home,” stated Kevin Cook, CEO of UMMC’s University Hospitals and Health System, in a news release announcing the program’s expansion.
The Future of Population Health Management and Diabetes — and Where RPM Fits in
This goal of leveraging technology to enable better solutions for diabetes population health management firmly in line with the Care Innovations mission, our rate of success is enabling the expansion of these important services to many more diabetic patients.
As a case in point, multinational healthcare provider Roche recently entered into a strategic partnership to integrate its European-based mySugr diabetes management app with our RPM technology. In so doing, the company also announced that it was expanding the service into new markets in North America.
“Jointly we will be able to provide comprehensive remote care and support to better manage diabetes and its secondary complications,” announced Global Head of Roche Diabetes Care Marcel Gmuender. Thanks to the partnership, he added, “we will be able to offer comprehensive remote care and substantially expand how optimal care is being provided to people with diabetes in the U.S. and Canada.”
Not long before that, Diabetes Life Coach, a popular and user-friendly diabetes coaching and engagement solution, announced an integration of its services with Care Innovations’ RPM platform. The goal is to “close the loop on providing a comprehensive coaching solution for those living with diabetes,” in the words of company president Ed Kenney, who also cited the power of our Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering to “accelerate our go-to-market plan in a way that is scalable and secure.”
“We are excited about this strategic partnership,” Care Innovations CIO Himanshu Shah said in the statement. “We have first-hand experience witnessing the improved outcomes of people living with diabetes through education and technology intervention, so we are thrilled to partner with a company such as DLC.”
If you’d like to learn more about how to leverage RPM for diabetes population health management within your facility or organization, we’re standing by to answer your questions: Contact Care Innovations today to schedule a complimentary, one-on-one consultation with a remote care expert.