The Cardinal Health Foundation recently awarded CarePlus NJ with funding to launch the CarePlus Client Cloud project as a means of engaging patients in healthcare through the expanded use of technology.
The Cardinal Health Foundation offers these opportunities to healthcare manufacturers and patient care providers to help meet the demands of the evolving healthcare industry. The vision is to make healthcare more cost-effective and produce better patient outcomes, reduce prescription drug abuse, and create healthier communities.
The competitive funding opportunity that CarePlus was selected for is called “E3 – Effectiveness, Efficiency and Excellence in Healthcare”. The expected outcomes of these efforts at CarePlus include successful health management, improved medication adherence, greater health literacy and lower levels of inpatient hospitalization.
“CarePlus is an excellent candidate for this funding because of our holistic philosophy and the integrated nature of the care that we provide,” explained Jessica Costa, Program Manager of Partial Care Services at CarePlus, and Project Coordinator for the Client Cloud. “By putting technology into the hands of our community, this project will increase positive health and psychological outcomes and decrease social injustice.”
In 2009 CarePlus was selected as 1 of 13 organizations to receive four years of funding for Integrated Primary and Behavioral Health Care Services from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). With that support CarePlus was able to address the fragmented healthcare system, streamline medications, and enhance client compliance as well as safety.
The Integrated Primary Care Services paved the way for the development of a person-centered approach to care coordination and created more awareness about the important connection between a healthy mind and a healthy body. With the success of these innovations, CarePlus was recently designated as the first Behavioral Health Home in the state.
The Client Cloud will begin with the selection of clients that are currently involved in the Behavioral Health Home and are either living in one of the CarePlus group homes or supportive housing placements. Each of these clients will receive a securely managed Android tablet and will be trained to navigate the hardware and software as a tool for their health management.
“The introduction of this project was met with great excitement and commitment,” remarked Costa. “Technological opportunities have been few and far between for many of the individuals that we serve. Easy access to personalized health information and the monitoring of individual health progress will prove to be life changing for our participants.”
Each week Costa will conduct 5 1-hour training groups and each participant will be required to attend 2 per week. The goal is that participants will not only become more mindful of their decisions and responsibilities, but they will also have improved outcomes, involvement and advocacy.
Participants will have access to a cloud of tools and applications securely available through “mycareplusnj.org”, which will include access to their electronic health record. Some of the tools will be for health tracking, while others will be used as resources on topics such as primary and behavioral healthcare, as well as educational materials and general articles on wellness. Participants will also have a direct link to their health care provider through the tablets.
One other benefit to consider comes from a social perspective. As clients learn to use this new technology as a tool they may be able to improve past relationships with friends and families, and may even establish a new approach to peer support.
“The CarePlus Client Cloud project has the potential to inspire change on many levels for participants,” concluded Costa. “Not only is it an opportunity for individuals to take a more active role in their health care, but it is also an opportunity to analyze their current lifestyle and begin to incorporate more healthy decisions and positive changes.”