HCF, Telstra and telephone health counselling provider Healthways have collaborated to deliver Australia’s largest home-based telemonitoring service, furnishing biometric monitoring and telephone-based health support to HCF members suffering with chronic illness.
Healthways provides the care management and nursing services on behalf of HCF under the insurer's My Health Guardian banner.
The telemonitoring service is designed to improve the management of chronic conditions by sharing the responsibility of monitoring between the patient, the nurse and - with consent - a caregiver and GP.
After enrolment and qualification, a welcome pack containing wi-fi enabled health monitoring devices including blood pressure monitors, glucometers, oximeters and a quick start guide are delivered to the patient's home.
Results are transmitted over Telstra's NextG network into the patient’s records held at Healthways and are also visible to the patient via their profile on the myhealthguardian site.
Nursing staff monitor data readings twice daily and abnormalities are escalated based on the severity of the concern to patients and caregivers via SMS and email.
All parties are able to view the data and nurses are able to advise appropriate actions to keep the patient on track and in good health.
The service has been rolled out to 200 HCF members with plans to enroll a further 1500 members over the next six months, eventually scaling to over 3000 members.
The program was given the green light after a successful pilot of 30 patients that employed older technology.
“We’ve completely redesigned the program based on what we learnt from the pilot,” Andrew Cottrill, medical director for HCF, told iTnews. “We’ve kept it simple and we think that will be the key. It had to be simple and easy to use and it had to be cost effective to be delivered at scale.”
“The pilot required patients to be Telstra customers with particular models of smart phones running a mobile application, and required patient’s to have a degree of dexterity.
"Under the new program, patients don’t need to have a relationship with Telstra and the technology is wi-fi enabled and therefore data is automatically transmitted, requiring no effort on the part of the patient.”
The service is provided at no additional cost to qualifying HCF members under the My Health Guardian program. While the service is offered nationally, it is limited to areas with Telstra 3G and 4G coverage.
Patients do not have to be a Telstra customer to take advantage of the service.