Vinfen is proud to be featured in the current issue of the National Council Magazine. The article, What’s App Buddy? House Calls for Better Health, discusses how Vinfen along with its partners in research and technology are examining an innovative way to help people with psychiatric conditions take care of their health.
Compared to the general population, people with psychiatric conditions are at a higher risk for chronic diseases and shorter life spans. And despite the numerous program being designed to promote wellness for the general population, Vinfen’s President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Bird, Ph.D. states that currently, “We’re not sure what can be most helpful to people with serious mental illnesses.”
In 2012, Vinfen was awarded a three-year Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) Health Care Innovation Award to develop a project entitled “Community Based Health Homes for Adults with Serious Mental Illness.” The project established community-based behavioral health homes that provide a hand-held device called the Health Buddy along with access to a nurse practitioner and to help people manage their health. The system enables people with chronic medical and psychiatric conditions to answer simple questions and connect with their healthcare teams daily. The system also prompts users to engage in actions to manage their own conditions independently.
So far the project’s preliminary data is positive. Adherence is high with about one-third of participants using the Health Buddy 85% of the time, while 15% of participants use the device 90% or more of the time. In addition, the project has seen a reduction in emergency room visits. “Through December we have provided 183 interventions as a result of Health Buddy monitoring alerts, and estimate that we’ve averted 71 emergency room visits for a population that must often rely on emergency care in the absence of longer-term health management” says Vinfen’s Project Director Elizabeth Cella.