Patients at Intermountain Healthcare facilities will find it easier to take charge of their health thanks to a new federally subsidized tool.
Intermountain received a $9.7 million Health Care Innovation Award, which are meant to improve health care while saving money. The awards are funded through the Affordable Care Act. Health and Human Services has awarded 107 projects that are intended to save $1.9 billion over the next three years.
The award will allow Intermountain to purchase software called Archimedes IndiGO, which calculates patients' risk of heart attacks, diabetes or other problems, along with prioritizing medications and lifestyle changes that would have the greatest chance of improving their health. The software uses the patients' personal health information to create patient-friendly graphics.
Lucy Savitz, director of Research and Education at Intermountain's Institute for Health Care Delivery Research, said the software's use will be targeted to patients with chronic diseases. Intermountain will also alter the software to include depression as a chronic condition, since most people with chronic conditions also have depression, which reduces their likelihood of following their doctor's recommendations.
"What it allows the patient to do is see what the individual contributing factors are to your own wellness," she said.
The program, which will start in Salt Lake area clinics and eventually go systemwide if it proves useful, is expected to help save Medicare $67 million.
"Everything we're talking about is to keep people well," Savitz said. "When you keep people well, you reduce utilization."
That means Intermountain would lose money by improving patient health. Part of the award will be to reform the payment system so that it's not based on how often patients seek medical care.
Intermountain, along with healthcare systems in 14 other states, will also share in a $26 million award given to Dartmouth College. The systems will hire "patient and family activators" who will help patients with certain conditions congestive heart failure or candidates for spine surgery or hip or knee replacement surgery make decisions about their care.
That program is expected to save $63.8 million.