UnitedHealthcare expands digital data collection for Medicare beneficiaries

UnitedHealthcare announced it will increase the amount of data collected from digital devices as a tool for managing chronic illnesses. 

The data—being used to enhance comprehensives health profiles for Medicare Advantage participants—is generated through the UnitedHealthcare Nerve Center. Then navigators use these holistic profiles to recommend personalized support for the participating patients, UHC said in the announcement. 

UnitedHealthcare plans to double enrollment in Navigate4Me this year from its current 215,000 members and will add 500 additional navigators to its existing team of more than 800, it said. 

"Because of the positive results we’ve seen Navigate4Me deliver since launch, we have significantly expanded the program to bring the benefits of personalized, holistic care to more people enrolled in our Medicare Advantage plans," Steve Warner, lead of UnitedHealthcare's Medicare Advantage product team, told FierceHealthcare. "We’ve seen a 14% reduction in hospitalizations and a 9% reduction in emergency room visits for people with congestive heart failure participating in Navigate4Me. The program has a 95% satisfaction rate among plan participants who have received navigator support."

In addition, UnitedHealthcare reports that almost 40% of the people enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans have four or more chronic conditions, and many of these people also live alone.

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"Navigate4Me and the Nerve Center are part of our efforts to modernize the way we care for the people enrolled in our Medicare Advantage plans as the baby boomer generation continues aging into Medicare," Warner added. "For people facing some of the most complex health issues, their health navigator serves as their single point of contact, becoming a familiar and consistent partner throughout their entire health care journey."

Navigate4Me recently expanded its reach to additional populations, including those under the age of 65 but who qualify for Medicare; those who receive post-acute care following hospitalization; those newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; and those at risk for social isolation. 

Navigate4Me was first launched in 2017 for those enrolled in Medicare Advantage that suffer chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or congestive heart failure. Navigate4Me’s Nerve Center acts as a data hub that claims information from digital devices such as wearables and sensors and demographic information. Navigators—nurses and highly trained service representatives—are able to use this information to identify future health actions and anticipate long-term needs.