MetroPlus Health Plan selects AMAC's enabling telehealth solutions for improving paediatric asthma management

Oceanside 25 November 2003American Medical Alert Corporation's (AMAC) AsthmaLink System, part of AMAC's robust portfolio of life enhancing monitoring technologies, will be piloted by MetroPlus Health Plan, a wholly owned subsidiary of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). The pilot is funded in part by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that supports independent research on health and social issues and makes grants to improve health care practice and policy.


Asthma continues to be the leading cause of emergency department visits and hospitalizations for children and places serious limitations on normal childhood activities, including school attendance. With evidence from a small study group of paediatric asthma patients seen at Coney Island Hospital, who achieved significant improvements in patient self-management and a reduction in emergency visits and hospitalizations through the use of the system, the technology will be utilized more widely for a sample of children seen at six HHC operated hospitals throughout the New York Metro area.

Under the programme guidelines, a portion of the patients identified will be enrolled in AMAC's AsthmaLink System to receive an appliance programmed for a paediatric asthma population that allows care managers to remotely monitor symptoms, behaviour and overall health status. The appliance, powered by the Health Hero platform and supported by AMAC's First Line Team, delivers a series of textual, disease specific questions and daily reminders about important health topics such as triggers, exercise, and medication compliance.

Dialogues engage patients to self-report vital data such as peak flow readings and incidences of shortness of breath. Care managers view the patient responses and biometric data on AMAC's iCare Desktop, an Internet-based care management system that automatically flags patients as low, medium, or high risk, providing the opportunity for a care manager to intervene before a patient's condition becomes acute. Additionally the system features a single button connection to link patients and their families with the First Line Team at AMAC's H-LINK Call Center to assist and support patient and family members with questions and technical support associated with the programme.

Howard M. Siegel, AMAC's Chairman and CEO further commented: "We are pleased to have this opportunity to deliver a powerful care management tool tailored for paediatric asthma and further demonstrate AMAC's commitment to supporting telehealth initiatives through the delivery of our turnkey implementation and support programme. Through the ability to program the system with 14 disease state dialogues, we believe our platform can benefit a broad spectrum of patient populations in a variety of care management settings." Concurrently, MetroPlus is planning to incorporate the technology utilizing AMAC's other standard disease management programmes.

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) was created by legislation in 1970 as a public benefit corporation, governed by a Board of Directors, to oversee the City's public health care system in all five boroughs. HHC consists of 11 acute care hospitals; 6 Diagnostic & Treatment Centers; 2 long term care facilities; a certified home health care agency, and over 100 community-based child and family health care clinics. HHC facilities treat nearly one-fifth of all general hospital discharges and more than one third of emergency room and hospital-based clinic visits in New York City.

MetroPlus is a network model health maintenance organisation certified under Section 4403-a of the New York Public Health Law and a subsidiary corporation of HHC. The plan is licensed to enroll people who are eligible for Medicaid Managed Care, Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus and an HIV Special Needs Plan (SNP), and who live in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, as well as HHC employees.

AMAC is a national provider of remote health monitoring devices and 24/7 communication services designed to promote early medical intervention and improve quality of life for senior, disabled and chronically ill populations. AMAC's product and service offerings include Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), electronic medication reminder devices, disease management monitoring appliances and 24/7 medical on-call and emergency response monitoring. AMAC operates several National Medical On-Call and Communication Centers allowing access to trained response professionals 24/7.

AMAC has, through a strategic partnership with Health Hero Network, based in Mountain View, California, incorporated the Health Hero Technology platform into their comprehensive portfolio of health monitoring tools. The Health Hero platform includes the Health Buddy appliance and iCare Desktop, an Internet-based care management solution for health care professionals.

Leslie Versweyveld

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