The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has awarded a $200,000 grant to Butler Health System and Madison-based Wellbe as part of the Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program to support diabetes self-management using online patient engagement.
The project will serve rural areas of Butler, Venango, Lawrence, and Clarion counties with an innovative diabetes support and education system coordinated by Butler Health System and in partnership with Seneca Medical Center and Clarion Hospital. Through the use of videoconferencing, provided by Polycom and cloud-based services, patients will access an online education portal as well as support groups and Certified Diabetes Educators. Services will be available through the use of personal devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, as well as in person through their primary care offices and clinics. This project will provide needed services to rural residents in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
“We are always looking for ways to provide high value and quality to our patients,” said Cindy Esser, Butler Health System Director of Emerging Technologies. “By delivering care in an accessible and convenient way, we hope to improve patient experiences and outcomes.”
The BHS-Polycom-Wellbe team submitted a grant aimed at improving the health status and increasing access to Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) for its community members suffering from type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. The program will provide DSME to rural residents in person, via videoconferencing, and online. This combined multi-channel program will help create a more culturally competent, systematic, and effective care tool; thereby, improving patient outcomes while lowering the cost of disease management for patients, payers, and taxpayers.
The program goals include:
• Improve self-management knowledge and behaviors and health outcomes among patients with Diabetes Mellitus
• Establish a comprehensive rural Care Pathways DSME network for patients with diabetes living in rural designated areas incorporating health coaching (via videoconferencing and in-person), web-enabled educational videos, and support groups.
• Provide Care Pathways DSME to more than 5,000 patients with diabetes living in rural designated areas in Butler, Venango, Lawrence, and Clarion counties.
• Improve health outcomes
Wellbe will conduct user research with current diabetics to uncover the challenges they face with today’s DSME. Using these grounded insights Wellbe will design and implement a Guided CarePath that works with Butler’s educational programs to help patients and their families manage their diabetes, guiding them – without overwhelming them – to better understand their condition, and the steps they need to take.
BHS previously implemented Guided CarePaths for Total Joint Replacement and Bariatric Surgery designed by Wellbe to provide patients with multiple benefits including the convenience of online engagement, family involvement, checklists and reminders.
“By focusing on patients, their families, and consumer experience best practices, we’ve managed to solve patient engagement problems that persist across many areas in the healthcare industry,” said James. “Our tools are versatile and we’re eager to transfer what we’ve learned from supporting surgical episodes to helping people start off strong as they confront a chronic condition such as diabetes.”
About Butler Health System (http://www.butlerhealthsystem.org)
Butler Health System (BHS) is an independent community health system that provides health care services in nearly 30 locations throughout Western Pennsylvania. Consistently recognized for its quality of care, BHS is a network of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, personally invested in the community, focused on providing individualized care for every patient treated.
About Wellbe (http://www.wellbe.me)
Wellbe, the inventor of the cloud-based Guided CarePath, works with health providers to engage patients as partners in their episodes of care. Our Guided CarePaths empower patients to learn and take the actions required to achieve better outcomes at lower costs. High-performing hospitals use Wellbe’s Connected Care solutions to improve the experience and efficiency of helping patients to successfully navigate their medical treatments and surgeries.