BOSTON, Mass. - February 26, 2008 -
The Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners HealthCare, one of the nation's leading integrated health care delivery systems, and EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) today announced a collaboration to study how EMC's employees diagnosed with hypertension can better manage their health through proactive monitoring and education. EMC is the first company to participate in SmartBeat, designed by the Center for Connected Health, which uses a wireless blood pressure cuff and communicator, and an Internet-based feedback system, to aid employees volunteering for the study to self-manage their high blood pressure.
"Employers are increasingly looking for innovative, consumer-centric approaches to create and maintain a healthy workforce and manage health care costs," said Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Director, Center for Connected Health. "Our partnership with EMC is evaluating how simple technologies can help employees manage a chronic condition, such as high blood pressure, and may demonstrate how a web-based remote monitoring program can empower patients to improve their own health."
Hypertension is a preventable cause of stroke and other cardiac complications. However, according to the American Heart Association, 65 million Americans have high blood pressure. Of those diagnosed with hypertension, the World Health Organization estimates that almost 70% do not have adequate blood pressure control, contributing to an estimated $40 billion in direct healthcare costs and more than 17 million physician office visits annually.
"We are pleased to team with Partners HealthCare to offer the SmartBeat program to our U.S.-based employee population," said Delia Vetter, Senior Director of Benefits, EMC Corporation. "The program is a natural extension of EMC's employee health management strategy to promote a healthy workplace and drive innovation and the adoption of new health care technologies. This ultimately enables our employees and their families to more effectively manage their health."
Through SmartBeat, the Center for Connected Health will be able to evaluate how a self-management program impacts participants' blood pressure levels, as well as their involvement and confidence to manage their own health. The program will also study how a web-based hypertension wellness program can impact health care costs and utilization, such as the number of doctor visits or the use of prescription medications to manage the condition.
Approximately 400 U.S.-based EMC employees with hypertension or pre-hypertension will participate in the program on a volunteer basis. Participants from several EMC locations, which are selected at random, use home blood pressure monitors that store and transmit data, and an Internet-based self-management system. All participating employees can securely and confidentially share personal data with their health care providers, and have access to personalized educational content with data-driven feedback.
Enrollment for SmartBeat has begun, and is expected to be complete by the summer of 2008. Currently, employees participating in the study are taking their blood pressure reading, on average, every three days, indicating a high level of interest and usage. Aggregated results from the study are expected to be available in mid 2009.
"Tracking my results on the website is very helpful and convenient. The ability to track readings and the feedback you receive with the website are really the keys to success for me," said Scott Cote, an EMC software engineer. "I know that when I eat certain foods, my blood pressure will rise. I'm able to control my blood pressure now through diet. The SmartBeat program is a great incentive for employees and I think it is one of the best benefits EMC offers to help make employees healthier."
"I was thinking of monitoring my blood pressure anyway. When I heard about the SmartBeat program, I figured that I would be more likely to do it on a regular basis," added Amir Sharif, a development manager at EMC. "In addition to monitoring my blood pressure, I changed my diet and exercise program, to see if that would have an effect on my blood pressure. And, in fact, my blood pressure is down considerably, moving in the right direction."
"Early interest in SmartBeat among EMC's employees has been strong, demonstrating a real need and a real value for such programs," Kvedar added. "We applaud EMC for its vision and commitment to help employees improve their overall health and to accelerate the adoption of innovative health care technology to better the lives of its employee population."
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