AMC Health guarantees lower readmissions, prepares wireless monitor for inhaler use

By: Neil Versel | Mar 7, 2013        

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Graci Bluetooth Weight Scale

Graci Bluetooth weight scale used in Geisinger case study.

Telehealth systems provider AMC Health is offering a money-back guarantee that its customers will see at least a 10 percent decline in hospital readmissions within 90 days of implementing AMC’s interactive voice response (IVR) technology and case management services.

“We feel confident enough that this will reduce readmissions enough that we won’t have to give anybody their money back,” AMC Health senior vice president for research & business development John Holland said at the 2013 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in New Orleans. Customers include hospitals, health insurers, accountable care organizations (ACOs) and home health agencies.

AMC Health reported last year that Geisinger Health Plan, the payer side of integrated delivery netork Geisinger Health System, reduced the risk of 30-day readmissions by 44 percent among Medicare patients actual 30-day readmissions by 19.5 percent over a two-year period using AMC’s technology.

Telephone case management can be labor-intensive, as nurse managers have to call to check up on patients after hospital discharge. But, according to Holland, the Geisinger experience indicated that it takes an average of 2.9 attempts to get a patient on the phone, and three-fifths of calls were unnecessary because they found no gaps in care. That means that as few as 15 percent of calls required a medical intervention.

With IVR, nurse case managers only have to pick up the phone when automated calls find a problem, such as a patient missing a doctor’s appointment or being unable to find transportation to a pharmacy, Holland said.

Holland also told MobiHealthNews that AMC Health also is developing a form of the smart pill bottle, but for inhalers. He said the New York-based company just wrapped up a beta test of a wireless device that clips over inhalers for treating respiratory ailments such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that can alert caregivers if a patient misses a dose or even if they are taking too much of a “rescue” medication instead of “control” drugs.

Patients who increase usage of the rescue drug to aid in breathing might need to see a doctor or even require emergency care, Holland explained. “We can measure excess use of the rescue med as an indicator that lung function is diminishing,” he said. “It’s an overadherence monitor instead of an underadherence indicator.”

Asthma medication ratio is a Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) quality measure that payers refer to in assessing patient outcomes.

MobiHealthNews coverage of the HIMSS13 event in New Orleans is sponsored by AirStrip Technologies.