UnitedHealth uses tech to connect with family caregivers

Seeing a need to provide customized healthcare resources to family members caring for loved ones at home, UnitedHealth has turned to a technology-based solution.

The insurer's recently launched program, called Solutions for Caregivers, offers a suite of customized resources intended to speed recovery and prevent unnecessary medical visits. The platform is currently available for free to more than 600,000 people through all of United's large employers with self-funded plans.   

In an interview with Health Data Management, Vidya Raman-Tangella, M.D., head of UnitedHealthcare's Innovation Center of Excellence, says consumers and employers expressed the need for more information and resources aimed at family caregivers. The platform offers a suite of in-person, telephonic, and online resources--including articles and videos--that target specific illnesses, such as Alzheimer's.

Solutions for Caregivers also includes an online marketplace that connects caregivers with vendors, a forum for caregivers to connect with one another, and the ability to contact healthcare professionals to answer specific medical questions.

Some state legislators have recently emphasized the critical role of family caregivers. A new California law requires hospitals to share information with a family caregiver about patient needs and medications following discharge.  

"By leveraging information and technology, we are providing people with more personalized, convenient and easy-to-use resources to simplify the healthcare experience, achieve better health outcomes and translate data into action," Raman-Tangella told HDM.

Previous studies support the notion that many caregivers are seeking out health information online. Additionally, patients have been receptive to self-management tools that can improve their overall health. A recent survey showed 90 percent of patients want to partner with providers to live healthier lives, and 84 percent believe self-monitoring apps and devices can help.

To learn more:
- read the Health Data Management article

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