SALT LAKE CITY and DENVER, Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Altius Health Plans and CaféWell™ today announced the successful rollout of Breathe with Ease™, a new type of asthma education and management program that utilizes the power of social networking technology to increase consumer engagement and participation, resulting in better control and reduced attacks. Launched in December 2011, the program is available to 1,000 asthmatic Altius Health Plans members in Utah.
The Utah Department of Health estimated that eight percent, nearly a quarter of a million Utahns, have asthma. Together, they visit emergency rooms 27,000 times per year, but many of these visits can be prevented with better patient knowledge.
"Altius is proud to be the first to offer this fun and engaging asthma management program, which will drive higher levels of care and patient engagement, improving health and fitness for our members," said Dr. Dennis Harston, chief medical officer of Altius Health Plans.
"The peer support is incredible and I have learned more about asthma from this program than from any other source," said Breathe with Ease member Sondra Castagno of Tooele. "I have only had one attack since I started this program and my ACT score has improved by two points. My peak flow still fluctuates but I am aware of it now, whereas I had no idea previously."
"I've never seen anything like this before," said Kathleen Ellis, ARNP, PhD, MHA, an asthma educator and consultant who is CaféWell's on-site asthma expert. "It's very difficult to provide patient education in the physician's office. Breathe with Ease provides a fantastic opportunity for people to learn more about controlling their asthma whenever it's convenient for them."
"The problem with the application of traditional top-down disease management strategies to conditions like asthma is that people resent being managed or directed," said Jeff Cohen, CaféWell's co-founder and vice president of product strategy who is an asthmatic himself. "Breathe with Ease is entirely the opposite. It is an aspirational program that consumers want to join because it is fun, rewarding and social, while members learn about how to better manage their asthma."
How Breathe with Ease Works
To join Breathe with Ease, Altius members first register on http://cafewell.net/breathe, the social health network host site. The program is personalized for members' asthma condition type, intermittent or chronic. Once registered, members receive a free Peak Flow Meter and spacer with simple instructions provided on the program website to begin their asthma monitoring.
All Peak Flow Meter readings and asthma symptoms can be recorded in an Asthma Diary. CaféWell automatically calculates and translates readings into daily asthma color codes that are simple to understand. Breathe with Ease members also get access to QualityMetric's Asthma Control Test TM, which gives members and clinicians a statistical measure of how well a person's asthma is being controlled.
For participating in activities, assessments and education, members are rewarded with virtual currency that is accumulated and converted into entries in prize sweepstakes. Breathe with Ease widely uses gaming technology to make assessment, learning and reporting more fun. With space for additional members, the program will continue through December 2012.
About Altius Health Plans Inc.
Altius Health Plans Inc. provides health insurance products and services, including HMO, Point-of-Service and Medicare Advantage plans, to employers and individuals throughout the state of Utah and in parts of Idaho and Wyoming. Altius Health Plans is URAC health utilization management accredited. Altius Health Plans is a subsidiary of Coventry Health Care, Inc., one of the country's largest health care companies providing a full range of risk and fee-based health care products and services in all 50 states. For more information, visit Altius Health Plans' website at www.altiushealthplans.com
About CaféWell™ and WellTok®, Inc.
CaféWell is a social health network that makes getting better connected to your health and fitness more fun and more rewarding. CaféWell provides one stop for consumers' health, wellness and fitness -- including social networking; advice from experts, peers and veteran professional athletes; fun health challenges with other users; and reliable health and fitness information.
Healthcare population managers, such as health plans and employer groups, sponsor their members into CaféWell. In return, those population managers gain the use of an additional, trusted consumer communications channel; build consumers' affinity with their brand; positively engage consumers with their health; and increase members' healthy behavior. WellTok, Inc. is headquartered in Denver, Colo. To learn more about CaféWell's ability to engage members and consumers, visit www.cafewell.com and www.welltok.com.
For Altius Health Plans
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