Anthem Blue Cross Announces C.A.R.E. Pilot Program for Heart Patients

Jan. 7, 2010

Woodland Hills, CA, January 5, 2010 – Anthem Blue Cross announced today that it has contracted with IDEAL LIFE® to provide wireless body weight scales for in-home use with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) patients. This initiative is the foundation of a new pilot program known as C.A.R.E. (Congestive Heart Failure Ambulatory Remote monitoring and Engagement). The program’s goal is to utilize IDEAL LIFE’s Bluetooth-enabled remote monitoring devices to more efficiently triage members with chronic heart conditions, identifying patients at risk for a possible acute health crisis, and helping to prevent costly and unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Anthem Blue Cross will be deploying these remote monitoring devices with clinical oversight provided by participating HMO medical groups and independent practice associations caring for these patients.   

Despite numerous advances in disease management programs, CHF remains a significant and costly health condition to manage. While individuals with CHF represent a relatively small percentage of the overall population, these patients carry significant health risks and require close coordination with their healthcare team to optimally manage their condition. Traditional approaches to treating CHF patients have depended upon patients monitoring and recording changes in their own health conditions, which can indicate a possible worsening of their condition. This daily record-keeping and lifestyle-modification can be time-consuming and difficult for some patients, and often poses a challenge to producing a lasting, positive impact on health outcomes.

IDEAL LIFE’s remote monitoring system routinely monitors a patient’s biometric data and wirelessly transmits the results via a standard telephone line to a secure data repository. The information is collected 24/7 and communicated in real-time to patients and their healthcare team of physicians, care givers, and case managers. The body weight scale used in the C.A.R.E pilot program will facilitate timely intervention for individuals who have a sudden increase in body weight, which is associated with hospitalization for heart failure. If weight fluctuations are recorded, a healthcare provider or case manager can immediately intervene, avoiding a potential health crisis.

“Our expectation is that this pilot program will result in a more efficient way to manage chronic care conditions, while helping to enhance the prioritization of which patients may need help at any given time. This electronic smart messaging 24/7 in the home with real time response should result in higher response rates at a fraction of the current healthcare costs,” said Dr. Kurt Tamaru, Anthem Blue Cross C.A.R.E. Clinical Program Lead.

Each IDEAL LIFE scale comes with a messaging device that has a text messaging window so patients can receive timely feedback and information that enhances greater awareness of their own health and allows for better communication with their healthcare team. In addition, clinical algorithms of care can be tailored to an individual member’s specific needs.