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Another big step in the realization of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s (D-H’s) vision to create a sustainable health system—one that improves the lives of the people and communities we serve—is launching in 2016. ImagineCare is a new health technology and service solution developed by D-H. It’s goal: to change the way people interact with their “health care” and ultimately, the way we all think about our health.

As D-H CEO and President Dr. Jim Weinstein explains, “We’re building a sustainable health system, not a health care system. ImagineCare is about helping people to stay healthy and helping patients to ‘get well’ faster. ImagineCare also is designed to be sustainable, by keeping people out of the hospital—the most expensive part of the health care system, and the place they least want to be.”

Vin Fusca, vice president for ImagineCare, Ethan Berke, MD, medical director for Clinical Design and Innovation, and Nate Larson, director for Remote Medical Sensing, have led the D-H team developing ImagineCare. The platform is based on two years of research and development, and draws on lessons and best practices from industries ranging from hospitality to high tech. Berke says, “We asked, ‘How can our health system meet people where they are? Instead of being a reactive health system, how can we become a proactive health system?’”

What Is ImagineCare?

“ImagineCare provides people with the information and tools they need to make good decisions and become engaged in their own health,” explains Justin Montgomery, APRN, director of Clinical Integration for ImagineCare.

ImagineCare creates an ongoing dialogue between patients and their care team, using remote sensing technologies to gather real-time health data, based on the needs and goals of each patient. ImagineCare provides an easy-to-use mobile application, wearable sensors, like activity trackers, and traditional medical devices like blood pressure cuffs.

“Chronic diseases drive population health costs. ImagineCare will empower patients and their care teams to manage chronic disease in an increasingly evidence-based, coordinated, personalized and convenient manner,” says Robert Greene, MD, D-H executive vice president and chief Population Health Management Officer, and interim chief executive officer for ImagineCare.

Patient health data is captured, monitored and analyzed in a sophisticated command center using powerful applications developed in partnership with Microsoft. ImagineCare combines patient health data with other relevant data sets, for example from national health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and applies care pathways, which have been developed using the latest clinical evidence and best practices culled from D-H Knowledge Maps—a set of evidence-based clinical practice approaches to care—and are specific to each person’s needs.

24/7 Personalized Care

The ImagineCare Command Center is staffed 24/7 by specially trained registered nurses and health navigators, making each person’s health information always available. ImagineCare can monitor and report on progress toward health goals, watch for any “red flags” or emergencies, and respond as needed, whether with a text reminder, video call or a phone call from a registered nurse about a potential emergency situation.

When patients enroll in ImagineCare, they receive a set of sensors appropriate to their needs and the ImagineCare app, which is currently available for the iPhone, iPad and other iOS devices. “The app is both a method of taking measurements with those sensors, and viewing the results of those measurements,” says ImagineCare says McKay Larson, ImagineCare product manager. “You can see trends, and get feedback about how you’re doing with goals that you’ve set. It’s also a means of communication, to keep in touch with the ImagineCare team. It has a chat application and video chat that allow you to send questions and get answers back.”

Larson stresses the patient engagement and customer service built into ImagineCare. “It’s not just a method for patients to give their blood pressure to their doctor; it’s a way for them to learn more about their blood pressure and be encouraged when they’re making good choices or be warned when they’re heading slightly off track. All those things go into helping patients be more knowledgeable, and able to positively affect not just their blood pressure but their overall health.”

A Sustainable Health System

“We’re on the verge of an Industrial Revolution in health care,” Weinstein says. “But rather than harnessing the power of steam for trains and factories, we’re harnessing powerful health and medical data using ‘every day’ consumer technologies to enable a new age of targeted, personalized care for each individual.” That, Weinstein says, makes for a truly sustainable health system.

ImagineCare is initially being offered to D-H employees, followed by D-H patients. Ultimately, the goal is to provide the ImagineCare technology platform to health organizations across the country, to offer a range of benefits for patients and health care organizations.