March 16, 2020 – Medical Home Network, an organization serving patients in the Chicago area, is using artificial intelligence to identify individuals who have a heightened vulnerability to severe complications from COVID-19.
For Medicaid beneficiaries who face challenges such as homelessness or lack of transportation access, it can be difficult to take measures to protect against or receive treatment for COVID-19. Medical Home Network is leveraging an AI-based predictive analytics model to prioritize care management outreach to patients most at risk from the virus.
“We want to identify what we refer to as the ‘socially isolated’ or people without nearby friends or family so our care teams can proactively educate and offer assistance to people in regards to COVID-19,” said Dr. Art Jones, Chief Medical Officer at Medical Home Network.
Medical Home Network’s Accountable Care Organization (MHN ACO) provides managed healthcare to approximately 120,000 patients in Cook County. MHN ACO aims to provide patients with better care through coordinated care management at the practice level.
Once MHN identifies patients at high risk of severe complications from COVID-19, individuals will be contacted by MHN ACO care management teams. These teams are employed by patients’ primary care practices based in communities across Cook County and have built trusted relationships with patients.
MHN ACO includes ten Federally Qualified Health Centers, three hospital systems, and their physician practices.
“Community preparedness is critical. The dedicated MHN care teams who proactively reach out to patients via phone, email or text will help individuals understand what they can do to lower their chance of infection, recognize symptoms of infection and how best to access the advice and care they need,” said Jones.
As healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public continue to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, advanced technologies like AI will play a critical role in identifying and protecting vulnerable individuals.
Healthcare leaders have highlighted the challenges poor and immigrant patient populations will likely face in the wake of the pandemic. Rhonda Medows, MD, president of population health at Providence St. Joseph Health, recently told PatientEngagementHIT.com that proactive care delivery is the best way to protect high-risk patients.
For those affected by the public charge rule, which holds serious implications for patient care access, proactive care will be especially critical, she added.
“Particularly in an epidemic, if we cannot get to patients because they’re not coming to us that means we have to do the work of going to them. They may not actually even be receiving the information. That’s probably the most important thing we can do with them and that’s why we have a community-focused effort,” Medows said.
“The last thing we need is for people to not renew their Medicaid, not come in and use their food assistance, or not seek our assistance for housing because they’re concerned that public charge is just another effort to put them in the process of deportation,” she said.
Using artificial intelligence, MHN will work to improve outcomes and better protect vulnerable patients.
“With limited availability for testing at present and the stress this pandemic will place on our healthcare system, we need ways to identify individuals that will most benefit from outreach. Medical Home Network is using our health risk data which includes social determinants of health powered by AI predictive models to prioritize resources in our communities,” said Cheryl Lulias, President and CEO, Medical Home Network.
“Our care teams can make a difference for those patients who are likely to have a heightened vulnerability to severe complications from COVID-19.”