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A New Online Program to Improve Treatment Adherence through the Advanced Use of Technology in New York City
VillageCare (www.villagecare.org), a New York City community-based, non-profit organization serving people with post-acute and chronic care needs, announces the launch of “Rango,” an online platform that combines a variety of technology-enabled features into one service that motivates and educates people to manage their own health.
“With New York City health care and the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS evolving rapidly, VillageCare is once again at the forefront of meeting these needs, with the launch of Rango,” said Emma DeVito, president and chief executive officer at VillageCare.
More specifically, Rango is a fully secure and anonymous multi-faceted web-based tool that features:
• A fun and engaging online community that allows patients to share their stories – both positive and negative – and receive advice and encouragement from their peers
• Moderated discussion boards on a variety of health and healthy living topics
• Professionally facilitated virtual support groups, that are held throughout the week and day to maximize accessibility
• Virtual Q&A with a Health Coach, to ask those ‘stupid questions’ that patients may not want to ask in a group, or even ask their doctor or case manager
• Patient-controlled text reminders for medication-taking, as well as for appointments and refills
• A dynamic article library with easy-to-understand explanations about HIV/AIDS, common co-morbidities, medications, and other information
• Matching to a trained Peer Mentor, who can help an individual through specific concerns.
Rango is built on expertise in health behavior change and patient engagement, but it is not just for individuals who are struggling with compliance. “Rango creates a community of individuals facing similar issues,” notes Jessamine Buck, program director. “It is this online community support, combined with personal reminders and professional advice, that will be the key to the program’s success.”
Individuals who are Medicare and/or Medicaid beneficiaries and have been prescribed medications for HIV/AIDS are eligible to participate. Participants can access Rango from any computer or smart phone with a username and password. Most features are also available via a standard cellphone.
Unlike a single product, Rango has been created and will operate through a team of both technology partners and health care partners. The technology partners, who all bring proven outcomes in chronic care management, are:
• CareSpeak Communications, with a patented programmable texting platform
• Wellness Layers, with a rich online community platform
• SBR Health, with secure health care video conferencing
• InquisitHealth, with a full-service Peer Mentor program
VillageCare has tied these technologies together and built a participant management tool and data warehouse that will facilitate continuous improvement, and deliver value to its health care partners.
The health care partners are participating in Rango to empower their patients, members and clients with an additional layer of fun and accessible support. “Rango serves as an important ‘tool in the toolbox’ to ensure compliance,” says Jerome Ernst, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Amida Care Health Plans. “If someone is highly challenged they can use Rango in collaboration with a care manager, or if someone is stable, they can continue independent education and support through Rango.”
Health care partners currently include a mix of health plans, primary care providers, and community-based organizations. Initial partners include AmidaCare Health Plans, MetroPlus Health Plans, CAMBA and a confirmed agreement pending contractual approval from Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Institute for Advanced Medicine.
Rango is supported by Grant No. 1C1CMS331353-01-01 from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or any of its agencies.
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