By Anuja Vaidya
Highmark Health has launched a virtual care programme for adults with type 2 diabetes that includes personalized care management, remote patient monitoring, and telehealth.
Dubbed Well360 Diabetes Management, the program is underpinned by technology and services from Onduo, a Verily company.
Onduo will reach out to qualified Highmark Health plan members who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and are older than 18 years and help them enroll in the program. Programme participants will be assigned a care coordinator to develop a personalized management plan, which includes help with medication adherence, diet, and exercise, among other diabetes management strategies.
Participants will receive a kit with a smart glucose monitor, an at-home A1c test kit, a lancing device, and unlimited testing strips. The smart glucose monitor connects with the Onduo platform so clinicians can track patients’ readings.
Further, those participating in the program will have access to a virtual health clinic with endocrinologists and other clinicians, who will coordinate care with patients’ primary care physicians. Programme participants will also have access to remote prescriptions.
“We believe that Well360 Diabetes Management will lead Highmark’s members with diabetes to engage more proactively — and with actionable information — in a two-way dialogue with clinicians, who can intervene to improve short- and long-term health outcomes,” said executive vice president, chief medical and clinical transformation officer at Highmark Health, Tony Farah, MD in the news release.
Highmark Health and Onduo conducted a joint pilot of the Well360 Diabetes Management program. They found that about 92 per cent of participating members with a baseline A1c of 9 per cent or greater saw their A1c drop by an average of 2.7 points. In addition, members who reported losing weight dropped an average of 13.3 pounds.
“Applied at scale, we can reimagine the care experience and improve wellbeing by delivering precision health support for health plan customers and members of Highmark,” said CEO of Onduo, and chief clinical officer of Verily Health Platforms, Vindell Washington, MD in the news release.
The programme is a part of Highmark Health’s Living Health model, which operates in partnership with Google Cloud and Verily, both of which are a part of Alphabet. The model aims to eliminate fragmentation and improve care coordination by providing health plan members with personalized care plans and offering clinicians actionable data.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 37.3 million people have diabetes, representing 11.3 per cent of the US population. Of these, approximately 90 to 95 per cent have type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is also among the top 10 most expensive chronic diseases for healthcare payers to treat. In 2017, diabetes care costs totaled US$327 billion.
As a result, payers are looking to partner with digital health companies that can help bring down costs and improve care.
For example, Banner | Aetna recently partnered with Virta Health to provide members with a diabetes care management solution that leverages remote monitoring and personalized nutrition plans.