The remote monitoring pilots help patients by allowing them to go home instead of rehabbing at a nursing home or long-term care facility (a practice that also generates cost savings for insurers). And they help hospitals reduce readmissions, which can be costly in more ways than one now that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services penalizes hospitals for excessive readmission of Medicare patients.
"The programs are good for patients because they help them stay in their homes and stay healthier," says David Lindeman, president of the Center for Technology and Aging. "And if they prevent hospitalizations or emergency department visits, they can be very cost-effective."
A longer view
Other projects are taking a longer view. Humana launched a pilot program in January that is testing passive patient monitoring among 100 Medicare Advantage patients in five states. The pilot uses a monitoring system developed by Healthsense to track the average daily activities of patients in their homes.
Patients selected for the program have one or more chronic illnesses such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, or COPD and have been admitted to the hospital at least twice in the past 12 months. The program uses an in-home monitoring system called eNeighbor to track the movements of participants using 11 sensors installed throughout patients' homes. They include motion sensors placed on walls, beds, and refrigerators, as well as sensors placed on toilets to track bathroom activity.