Tennessee’s Medicaid program will be using an mHealth sensor to measure medication adherence among members undergoing Hepatitis C treatment.
TennCare is partnering with Proteus Digital Health on the program, aimed at using connected health platforms to improve care management in underserved populations. The California-based company implants mHealth sensors in ingestible medications, allowing care providers to monitor medication management as well as the treatment’s effectiveness.
“The Proteus initiative allows TennCare to continue strengthening its Hepatitis C treatment efforts through an innovative, value-based outcomes approach,” Victor Wu, TennCare’s chief medical officer, said in a press release. “Hepatitis C can be a curable disease when patients complete a full course of therapy. However, social factors may create challenges for individuals to seek care or be adherent to a full course of therapy. We are eager to support our members and providers who are interested in using Proteus’ digital medicines as a tool to increase successful completion of Hepatitis C treatment.”
The platform, which provides remote patient monitoring capabilities, also serves the state well during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which has sharply reduced in-person care management and pushed care providers to test out new telemedicine techniques to continue care programs.
One of the early darlings in the digital health space, Proteus has had an up-and-down track record as of late. Earlier this year the company ended a partnership with Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, with which it was developing its mHealth platform for the treatment of mental health issues. This followed reports late last year that the company had failed to close a funding round and had laid off staff before securing emergency funding.
But the company’s platform, which consists of the ingestible sensor, a wearable patch that monitors physiological signs and an mHealth app that captures the data and relays it to care providers, has also proven its value in medication adherence
Among those using the platform is the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, a five-hospital health system that has applied the telehealth service to monitor patients living with diabetes, HCV and hypertension for roughly two years, with adherence rates of above 90 percent.
“The ability to include Proteus in a medical record not only improves care coordination but it individualizes and broadens our view of the person,” Bradley Crotty MD, MPH, an internist with the Froedtert & MCW health network and an assistant professor of Medicine at MCW, told mHealthIntelligence in a November 2019 interview. “We can better partner with patients by understanding how they’re doing between appointments and increasingly help personalize and optimize their regimen more quickly.”
That’s what officials in Tennessee – and elsewhere – are hoping to accomplish with this new program. The company is working with patient advocacy leaders to study patient engagement issues.
“There are many misperceptions regarding treatment eligibility criteria, which has hindered patient access to care,” Teresa Davidson, director of the American Liver Foundation’s Mid-South Division, said in the TennCare press release. “Proteus’ initiative could address some of these concerns and ultimately benefit patients across the state, and possibly the country.”
With this new program, Proteus will only collect payment from TennCare for patients who complete the treatment plan and are cured.