Humana, and dLife Healthcare Solutions have partnered to offer its diabetic Medicare Advantage members a new multimedia self-care and education program based on the success of a 2011 pilot project.
Humana’s pilot program began with 18,000 members receiving dLife Healthcare Solutions’ “My Diabetes Path,” an engagement program using mail, print workbooks, email and online content to help diabetics improve self-management.
Compared to a control group, “My Diabetes Path” users had a 7 percent improvement in LDL screenings and a 9 percent improvement in blood sugar screenings, with similar gains in eye exams and kidney disease monitoring. Humana said said the project helped drive improvements in its HEDIS scores and Medicare STAR ratings.
“The content really simplifies self-care needs,” said Marie Dieudonne, Humana’s Director of e-Health and Clinical Strategies.
Humana would not say how many of its Medicare Advantage members have diabetes, only saying the dLife program is available for all its Medicare Advantage members with diabetes.
The engagement strategy, said Adam Kaufman, general manager of the seven-year-old dLife, is to help fit diabetes care into a patient’s routine, with self-management guidance information offered both in print and digitally.\
It is “dosing that content to make it a little more palatable,” said Kaufman.
Kaufman said the basis for dLife’s Humana program comes from a 2010 study with Geisinger Health System, where type 2 diabetes patients using dLife’s engagement program showed improvement in 9 of 11 knowledge-and-behavior variables, with no change in the control group. The program yielded a 4.5 to 1 ROI impact on treatment costs.
From that study and the pilot program with Humana, Kaufman said, “We’ve been able to show, on the consumer side, that people like working with it.” dLife also reaches patients on television, with a show every Sunday on CNBC.
Driving dLife’s bids to work with payers, Kaufman said, is the advent of the Medicare STAR ratings, the transition to pay-for-performance and also the growing incidence of diabetes.
Some 10.9 million Medicare patients had diabetes as of 2010, according to the American Diabetes Association. And that population is expected to grow to 14.6 million by 2034, with associated spending of $171 billion, according to a 2009 Diabetes Care study.
Humana has committed 2 years to the program. For d-Life, there are perhaps more to come with others, Kaufman said.
“We have not rolled anything out with other insurers, but we’re in conversations with other payers,” Kaufman said.
Humana would not say how much it is investing in the program. The company increased its Medicare Advantage membership 18 percent in the last year, to 1,895,800, and higher costs associated with those members led in part to Humana’s reduced profit outlook in its second quarter report.