Study Finds Ochsner Digital Health Pilot Improves Hypertension and Diabetes Patient Outcomes

One of the biggest health systems in the Southeast, Ochsner Health, recently published the results of a new pilot program that shows how remote patient management and access to digital medicine can help Medicaid patients with chronic diseases like hypertension and type 2 diabetes achieve better results. Ochsner Health is an integrated healthcare system that provides care in various areas including cancer, cardiology, neurosciences, and developing technologies. The health system operates 47 hospitals and 370 health and urgent care facilities in the Southeastern United States, which includes over 36,000 employees and 4,600 physicians in more than 90 different medical specialities. 

In Louisiana alone, 40 percent of individuals suffer from hypertension and 14 percent of individuals have diabetes. Ochsner Health introduced this pilot program in June 2020 at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport and has since admitted more than 4,400 patients. This was done in response to the fact that Medicaid programs were falling behind in granting access to crucial digital health programs that could improve outcomes for patients with these chronic diseases.The noteworthy statistical and clinical outcomes of the pilot program showed that participation in Ochsner Digital Medicine brought approximately half of all uncontrolled hypertension patients under control within just 90 days, which was 23 percent more probable than standard care. Throughout the first 18 months of the treatment, control rates increased as patients continued with the treatment. More significantly, the digital program helped 59 percent of patients with poorly managed diabetes regain control over their disease, a rate twice as high as standard treatment. 

After the pilot’s first year was over, an independent actuarial firm verified that Medicaid participants’ health outcomes had improved in accordance with accepted scientific criteria. The firm maintained that even those individuals who had poor control before enrolling in the program had their diabetes and hypertension under control for the majority of them after 90 days. Participation in the digital medicine program led to excellent patient satisfaction, as well as improved health outcomes, with a net promoter score of over 91 for Medicaid members. This is in line with the high level of patient satisfaction that non-Medicaid patients at Ochsner have with their digital chronic illness management programs. Following the positive results, Ochsner Health is looking for funding from payors and employers in order to legitimize and expand the Digital Medicine program beyond its trial in Louisiana and throughout the country, given the variation in coverage for remote patient management.