Medicaid patients of all ages in remote regions — both urban and rural — present a unique challenge to home-based care providers. This is particularly true for those elderly patients with high-risk chronic conditions or behavioral health needs. According to Medicare Advantage (MA) figures, the challenge of caring for elderly patients with special needs is immense. More than 3.8 million Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Special Needs Plans (SNP) in 2021; these plans offer care to adults with disabling or life-threatening complex chronic conditions.
That SNP count has risen steadily this past decade, from 1.25 million in 2010 to the present 15% of total MA enrollment. Put it all together and we see a vulnerable population at risk of falling through the cracks, unless they receive the right in-home technology solutions.
“When you couple high-risk chronic conditions with the behavioral difficulties, and add remote or hard-to-access areas, it’s not as easy for patients to access health care as it is for someone who is living in a broader community,” says Jennifer Bishop, senior clinical manager at EarlySense, a global leader in 100% contact-free, continuous monitoring solutions.
Meeting the needs of such Americans requires remote-patient monitoring technology that addresses three key considerations.
Puts the patient experience first
There is pushback against the notion that “seniors don’t like technology,” as younger Boomers aging into the senior market are largely accustomed to today’s tech. But for the older, frailer portion of the population, technology tools still create reluctance.
“The patient is typically someone who has a behavioral health issue, maybe high anxiety,” says Terry Duesterhoeft, Chief Product and Commercial Officer at EarlySense. “They’re very nervous about technology and privacy. And they might also have physical or medical handicaps that would preclude them from taking their own vital signs or using a traditional remote-patient monitoring modality, like blood pressure or weight or even blood glucose. In addition, they often have several medications that they’re trying to manage on top of the chronic condition or some other medical condition.”
The EarlySense® InSight® at Home solution addresses those concerns. The contact-free technology offers comfort and ease-of-use, with sensors under a patient’s mattress. The system does not rely on Wi-Fi, instead using cellular connections to analyze, process and send data to health care partners, thus avoiding the lack of adequate Wi-Fi, as well as set-up complications.
With nothing to wear, recharge or attach, and with the cellular connection, use of the system is easy to use, automatic and invisible.
“Our company was started with the vision of creating a contact-free continuous monitoring solution that would turn every bed into a monitored bed,” Duesterhoeft says.
Creates improved compliance
Contact-free monitoring makes the system easy to use for seniors — and that improves patient compliance.
A Minnesota-based health care utility, HealtheMed uses EarlySense to deliver its [email protected] service to a population of Medicaid Special Needs Waiver clients and their caregivers. The company has been able to reach close to 100% monitoring compliance rates during overnight monitoring time periods; traditional monitoring solutions compliance rates typically hover around 50%. This monitoring leads to increased data and clinical insights on a range of vital signs, including heart rate, respiratory rate and sleep patterns.
“The Medicaid special-needs population is the most challenging health care delivery environment,” Duesterhoeft notes. “You’re in complex settings with a population that doesn’t have good compliance to begin with. But they’ve got severe health needs with high-risk medical conditions and a number of medications. This idea of a contact-free modality where compliance is automatic really opens up a much larger monitorable population for caregivers than there has been in the past.”
Boosts the quality of patient data
Capturing health data on seniors residing in remote settings is a real and constant challenge. Capturing meaningful levels of data during singular clinic or hospital visits is even more challenging. HealtheMed, through its [email protected] service, is using InSight to get a baseline of its clients’ overall health by delivering continuous data throughout the night, rather than a few spot check readings during the day.
“As we move into remote-patient monitoring with this Medicaid population, we’re able to bring hospital-grade tech into the home,” Bishop says. “You’re capturing trending data to flag any kind of deterioration and manage medication. It fosters a sense of wellbeing and enables the client or patient to be more proactive, leading to a better relationship between patients and caregivers, as well while keeping them out of the hospital or ER.”
This article is sponsored by EarlySense. To discover how EarlySense InSight at Home can help you manage vulnerable Medicaid patient populations, visit earlysense.com/solutions/earlysense-insight-at-home.