FORT WAYNE, IND. – NOV. 16, 2021 – Parkview Health has received a $642,600 grant from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as part of the Connected Care Pilot Program. The grant will be used to create a diabetes management program that uses broadband telehealth equipment.
The FCC’s Connected Care Pilot Program provides funding to help cover the costs of broadband connectivity, network equipment, and information services necessary to provide connected care services, with a particular emphasis on providing care to those classified as low-income and veterans.
The grant dollars will be used to purchase a remote telehealth platform for diabetes management. Up to 350 people living with diabetes will be loaned broadband health devices, such as glucose monitors, blood pressure cuffs or scales, which will automatically share data with the platform. By collecting and analyzing the health information from participants’ everyday lives, providers will be able to better understand their needs and provide highly personalized care plans. Participants will also be referred to more resources, such as diabetes coaches, dietitians and other wraparound services, as needed.
“The vital signs collected in an office visit only give us a small snapshot of what’s going on. When people leave their healthcare visit, that’s when life really happens,” said Chad Shirar, director, enterprise diabetes strategy, Parkview Health. “With data collection captured outside the typical clinical setting, we’ll be able to see how diabetes impacts people throughout their day, as they participate in different activities. We’ll get a more complete picture of their condition and, together, we can create better results with their treatment plan.”
The health devices will be loaned to the participants free of charge and use 4G or 5G cellular connectivity. This means the devices won’t require a home internet connection, creating better access for participants with low-income, or those who live in rural areas. The data will be seamlessly transmitted to the remote telehealth platform, where a care team can watch for adverse events and even alert those who may need intervention.
“People living with diabetes are already checking their blood sugar and other vitals at home. With this platform, they won’t have to wait for their next appointment to share the results,” said Max Maile, vice president, virtual health, Parkview Health. “As part of Parkview’s continuous expansion of telehealth capabilities, this pilot program adds a second layer of support in a person’s normal setting, providing better care directly in their home. This is a cost-effective, user-friendly and accessible way to create added value.”
The diabetes management platform will also build on Parkview’s value-based care efforts, which focus on creating better outcomes and reducing the overall cost of care. According to the American Diabetes Association, the cost of care for people with diabetes now accounts for approximately one in four health care dollars spent in the United States.
“By improving outcomes for people living with diabetes, we are treating more than just diabetes. Often, we’re also treating related conditions such as kidney problems, high blood pressure and obesity,” said Greg Johnson, DO, chief clinical integration officer, Parkview Health. “The result is fewer complications and fewer trips to the doctor. Participants could see not only long-term health improvement, but also significant cost savings.”
Program participants will be identified through provider referral. The pilot could begin as early as next year.