UScellular’s High-Speed Network Connects Ibis Members to Telehealth Monitoring Services
LEWISTON, Maine (December 10, 2020)
Scarborough-based Senscio Systems is helping Mainers with chronic health conditions and those most at risk of COVID-19 stay independent in their homes. Senscio Systems’ Ibis program (pronounced eye-biss) helps people manage their own health and may be covered by Medicare. With the use of a UScellular-provided tablet computer, Ibis members input their daily vital signs, when they take their medications, what they eat, and how much they are exercising. The daily log of information is tracked by a computer program, reviewed by a virtual care team at Senscio Systems, and shared with primary care providers, family, and others caring for that individual.
For residents in rural communities, that may have to travel 40 minutes to a grocery store, let alone a doctor’s office or medical center, the daily health monitoring means the difference between independence at home or having to live in an assisted-living facility, with family, or other available alternatives.
Along with the Ibis tablet, members registered with the Senscio Systems program, have a dedicated Ibis member advocate, like Martha Livingston of Lovell, Maine. Livingston calls each member no less than every two-weeks for a check in on how things are going. “I act as a health coach,” states Livingston. “I feel very fortunate that I can connect with fellow Mainers and help them remain independent. With my calls, I can get a sense of how people are doing on the program, how they are feeling, and if they have had visitors and are making social connections; in general, how they are doing overall. I develop a relationship with my members and help them take charge of their own health.”
The Ibis program also provides a larger, virtual care team for each Ibis member, made up of member advocates, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians, who monitor daily updates. This team can help flag early signs of any health issues, or with current health pandemic, the development of COVID-19 symptoms.
“I am excited about our virtual care team. In real time, we can provide a member’s primary care provider with a daily, weekly or monthly log that shows their patient’s vitals, something they would normally only see at one moment in time during a regularly scheduled appointment,” states Claus Hamann, MD, chief health officer of Senscio Systems. “The Ibis program is innovative because it helps people at home engage daily in their health, resulting in fewer calls to family or doctors, less emergency room visits and hospital stays, and better management of the daily challenges of heart, lung, emotional and other chronic conditions.”
A key component of the Ibis program is the connected Ibis device (tablet). The member’s Ibis device records all the patient’s daily information and can be transferred to primary care physicians, specialists, and family members for review and oversight. Connectivity in rural parts of Maine has been addressed by selecting UScellular as the wireless carrier for the Ibis program. The company’s network throughout Maine provides a nationwide, high-speed network for Ibis members in both urban and rural communities.
For Keri Smith, a 40-year old Lewiston resident, the Ibis program helps her manage multiple chronic issues from diabetes to COPD. Smith is one of the first Ibis members and started the program with a desktop to log her daily activity in April of 2015. Five years later, she now has an Ibis tablet provided by UScellular that gives her the freedom and ability to log her daily information from anywhere, whether she is at her volunteer job, visiting family or friends, or on vacation.
“Technology really has evolved today, so much so that we can do most anything from the palm of our hand –from banking, to conducting business, and even managing our health,” said Kimberly Green-Kerr, senior vice president of enterprise sales and operations at UScellular. “What really has fast-tracked this advancement is consumer demand and the build-out of cellular networks by companies like us.”
“With 5G network technology, UScellular customers in Maine will have access to even faster data connection speeds for an even better experience on city streets, country roads and in their homes,” adds Kerr. “At UScellular, we strive to provide the best wireless experience for our customers, including business customers like Senscio Systems. And we will continue to invest in every aspect of our customers’ experience, including in the neighborhoods and communities that they and we call home.”
For Smith, the real connection happens after she enters her daily information. “I enter the time I wake up, when I have my meals, when I take my medications, how I am feeling and breathing. I do that because I know someone is watching and I know if something is not right, I will get instructions on my tablet for what I should do. I have a member advocate and professional care team reviewing my data and identifying if something is off. I will get a phone call on what to do if following the instructions doesn’t work, whether that is to call my doctor or get myself to an emergency room.” Since using Ibis, Smith has reduced her emergency room visits from around 50 to 20 times a year.
Together, the Ibis program and UScellular are giving Mainers a choice in their healthcare delivery, the freedom to go about their daily lives, and the connectivity to provide peace of mind in their day-to-day management of their own health. “The Ibis program is an enhancement of primary care, providing eyes and ears on the patients on a daily basis,” adds Livingston. “Members engage in their own health care by using the connected tablet , and we provide the human touch to help our members stay on track with their diabetes, blood pressure and other conditions.”
“For a long time, telehealth has not been used very much, primarily due to costs and a lack of adoption by the health care system,” adds Hamann. “In many ways, COVID-19 has made telehealth a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to-have.” It makes sense for the patient, doctor, and for managing better outcomes and soaring health care costs. We don’t want to replace the in-person primary care visits. Instead we want to incorporate daily routine care, self-managed by our members, and integrate it into the primary care plan. The Ibis program relies on the primary care providers. As long as telehealth is valued beyond the pandemic it will only enhance the outcomes for everyone.”
For more information of the Ibis program visit, www.ibisprogram.com. The Ibis Program is free to all Medicare enrollees and designed for those with complex, multiple chronic conditions, as well as for those at risk of contracting COVID-19. The Ibis kit comes with a tablet, thermometer and pulse oximeter for measuring oxygen levels in the blood. If not covered by Medicare, the kit costs $150 and the ongoing monthly service fee is $50.
About the Ibris Program:
Ibis (pronounced eye-biss) program is a comprehensive solution for at-home self-management of persons living with complex chronic conditions. The program combines healthcare technology and artificial intelligence, coupled with coaching and integrated health management services, enabling Ibis program members to self-manage their health build stronger partnerships with their healthcare providers to proactively intervene. Following care plans prescribed by members' physicians, the Ibis program notifies the care team to consider interventions based on patient self-assessment data and generates unprecedented actionable insights for the care team about the health of the patient. For more information, visit Ibisprogram.com.
About Senscio Systems:
Senscio Systems, Inc., with its operating headquarters in Maine, was founded in 2010 by Piali De, Ph.D, and Hugh A. Stoddart, Ph.D. Senscio Systems' mission is to simplify complex operations through analytics. Its Ibis Program employs an innovative, patented Artificial Intelligence platform to support the self-management of persons living with complex health issues. The unique combination of technology and service in the Ibis program creates a new paradigm for health monitoring and management, targeted to better maintenance of baseline health, increase independence at home, lower rates of hospitalization, and reduce costs for the most complex patients. For more information, visit www.sensciosystems.com.
UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier is building a stronger network with the latest 5G technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers' lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. It is ranked #1 in the North Central Region in the J.D. Power 2020 Wireless Network Quality Performance Study – Volume 2. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with UScellular on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
For more information, contact:
UScellular Media Relations 773-392-2586