Texas Medicaid uses remote monitoring to engage patients with diabetes

Cigna-HealthSpring is teaming with Telcare to provide remote monitoring and care engagement services to diabetes patients in the Texas Medicaid STAR+PLUS program.

The goal is to improve quality of life for diabetics and cut the increasing costs in diabetes treatment, according to an announcement on the partnership effort. Diabetes affects one in three Texan residents, and the number of adult diabetics is projected to quadruple over the next 30 years to nearly 8 million. Current treatment costs for the state total more than $12.5 billion a year, the announcement says.

"Telcare's connected technology engages individuals living with diabetes and links them in near real-time to caregivers who are now empowered with the relevant information needed to personalize treatment," Johnny Gore, senior medical director of STAR+PLUS at Cigna-HealthSpring, said in the announcement.

The program marks the first use of a cellphone-based blood glucose meter by the state's Medicaid agency. The system lets patients share glucose readings with physicians via a cloud-based server, and lets caregivers provide patients with coaching and feedback as part of treatment management. The results, according to the announcement, are more engaged patients and more quality care time during patient appointments.

The Texas Medicaid mHealth effort is just the latest in a wave of healthcare systems tapping mHealth tools for diabetes care and treatment and as a cost-saving strategy. A new study reveals text messages can help keep teen diabetics engaged in healthcare issues and treatment.

Mobile monitoring of diabetic employees can save more than $3,000 a year in healthcare costs, half of the average annual medical insurance cost for workers diagnosed with diabetes.

The partnership news also comes on the heels of federal approval for the first set of mobile apps for diabetics looking to share data collected by continuous glucose monitors. The data sharing lets caregivers monitor blood sugar levels on a remote basis using Apple devices and the DexCom Share Direct Secondary Display system.

For more information:
- read the announcement

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