PALATINE, Ill., Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the nation's first studies examining the effect real-time tracking of health status can have on health outcomes has begun within the context of Illinois' Integrated Care Program (ICP). IlliniCare Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene Corp. (NYSE: CNC), and Addus HomeCare Corporation (NASDAQ: ADUS), a national provider of Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS), announced today they have initiated a study to assess the impact of equipping home care workers with mobile devices, enabling real-time reporting of change in consumer condition.
IlliniCare Health Plan is one of two managed care organizations (MCO) selected to manage the coordination of comprehensive health care services, including HCBS, for participants in ICP – Illinois' ongoing initiative to manage health care for its Medicaid population. In the future the program will encompass a much larger pool of individuals eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare benefits – the "dual eligible."
As a provider of HCBS, Addus Home Care Aides (HCA) visit IlliniCare's ICP participants' homes on a continual basis to assist with activities of daily living such as meal preparation, personal care, and transportation to doctor appointments. HCAs are uniquely positioned to be extensions of IlliniCare's case management. By detecting and reporting changes in participants' physical, mental, and environmental conditions, case management can intervene before these changes develop into more complicated health issues. Beyond general health observations, HCA's look for diagnosis-specific signs of decline such as loss of appetite, fatigue, swollen feet or ankles, fever, weight gain/loss, and lack of medication adherence.
"Connecting the home care aide with the rest of the health care team is something that has historically been disregarded," says Addus CEO Mark Heaney. "Enabling real-time data sharing through the use of mobile technology makes the aide in the home the point person in successful management of consumers along the health care continuum. We anticipate the pilot will show our model leads to better patient outcomes and reduced healthcare costs among those needing long-term care."Information entered on mobile devices by Addus HCAs is reported immediately to the company's centralized contact center. From there, supervisors review, triage, and share the information with IlliniCare case management for faster intervention upon the identification of a health complication.