Irene Iezzi has cheated death at least once in her lifetime.
Five years ago, she collapsed in front of her husband and a family friend. An ambulance rushed her from her home in Biddeford, Me., to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where they determined she had the flu, pneumonia and was in congestive heart failure. For three months, Iezzi did not wake up. When she finally did, her kidneys were failing and she had to learn how to walk and eat all over again.
The 70-year-old retiree still contemplates just how close she came to dying. “The good Lord didn’t want me,” she said. “I’ve got more to do here.”
Iezzi is much better these days, and has returned to enjoying her favorite activities: Gardening, making homemade whoopie pies — sometimes with peanut butter filling! — and catching reruns of her favorite shows, “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza.” But she also knows how important it is to stay on top of her ongoing health issues to keep doing these things and feeling her best.
To do so, she relies on help from the Ibis Health program.
A first-of-its-kind chronic care management program from Senscio Systems, Ibis Health combines round-the-clock AI-powered virtual monitoring with on-call clinical team support to empower retirees like Iezzi to take control of their well-being from the comfort of their homes.
Ibis Health members receive a continuously connected tablet that helps them to track weight, medications, diet, exercise and other health indicators, flagging risks for decline before it happens. Member advocates work one-on-one to help personalize the program to users’ individual needs and goals. Ibis Health members have reported a 37 percent decline in hospitalizations.
Iezzi joined Ibis Health because she wanted to be able to keep track of how she was doing in between doctor visits.
Every morning, her Ibis Health tablet reminds her to weigh herself, take her blood pressure, measure her blood-oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter and take her medications. She can share the resulting data with her medical providers, giving them a fuller picture of how she feels day-to-day. She also has the comfort of knowing the Ibis Health clinical support team is keeping an eye on her and will check in if anything seems amiss.
“It’s very convenient to have,” Iezzi said. “You don’t forget your meds and your blood pressure and all that. It’s right there in front of you, you can see it.”
Iezzi, who relies on portable oxygen to help her breathe, is already starting to see improvements in her overall health. She says her ankles no longer swell up like they used to, and recently her doctor was able to reduce the dosage of Lasix that she takes to help manage her congestive heart failure. She looks forward to calls with her Ibis Health member advocate, Donna, who has helped her set exercise goals to strengthen her legs.
“That’s a big help right there,” Iezzi said. “I notice my leg is a lot stronger than it was.”
And Ibis Health makes it fun, Iezzi said, with a rewards program that allows her to earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards to Market Basket. “That helps me, because I can get the stuff that I want, like my yogurt,” said Iezzi, who, like many retirees her age, is on a fixed income.
“I love this tablet! I do it every morning, and if I didn’t have it, I would miss it,” Iezzi said. “I rely on it.”