Sometimes the key to avoiding a trip to the emergency room can be simple if caught early: an extra Lasix pill to ward off congestive heart failure, or a cup of juice at the right moment to stabilize blood sugars before they get out of control.
Kathy Estabrook, Rockland, ME
For Kathy Estabrook, adding more water into her daily routine has made all the difference.
Last year, after the 70-year-old Mainer ended up in the ER several times for severe dehydration, her Ibis Health member advocate worked with her to incorporate more fluids into her diet. Now, reminders in her Ibis Health tablet encourage her to drink glasses of water every morning and evening.
It is just one of many ways the Ibis Health program is helping Estabrook to gain better control over her well-being and improve her quality of life.
Utilizing a proprietary AI-powered platform combined with clinical team support, Senscio Systems’ groundbreaking virtual chronic care management program works to anticipate and flag risks for health decline before they happen, engaging users in dynamic daily planning to take better care of themselves at home.
Ibis Health members receive a continuously connected tablet that helps them to track weight, blood pressure, medications, diet, exercise and other health indicators. Member advocates work one-on-one to help personalize the program to users’ individual needs. Ibis Health members have reported a 37 percent decline in hospitalizations.
Estabrook first heard about the Ibis Health program, which is covered by Medicare, through the senior housing development in Rockland, ME, where she lives. She thought it might help her better manage some of her chronic health issues, which include fibromyalgia and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
“My doctor is very good at answering my questions,” Estabrook said. “But sometimes you don’t want to call and ask these little questions, stuff like that. Ibis [is] always there for me to ask that sort of thing.”
Because fibromyalgia and GERD can both be exacerbated by certain types of food, at the suggestion of her Ibis Health member advocate, Estabrook began keeping a food diary, using the tablet to record what she ate and drank each day. Over time, she began to see patterns: She was consuming more butter than she thought. Two cups of coffee a day were fine, but she felt better if she drank both in the morning instead of spacing them out through the day. And overindulging in shrimp often resulted in severe gastrointestinal upset.
“So first of all I cut it out completely,” Estabrook said. “Then I found out that garlic shrimp, two or three garlic shrimp, didn’t seem to bother me. But when I put it in an acid tomato sauce, it did. [I learned] it might not be the shrimp, but what I ate the shrimp with.”
Estabrook said she has enjoyed learning to use the tablet, and it has helped her to establish a routine and rhythm to her days. She also looks forward to monthly calls with her Ibis Health member advocate.
“We talk books and things like that. We talk recreation, keeping yourself busy,” Estabrook said. “And she was there when I lost my kitty [last] January, and we talked a little about that. It was good to talk to somebody who understood.”
When Estabrook was having trouble sleeping due to a noisy neighbor, her member advocate helped her figure out how to get noise-canceling headphones.
“Anything you ask them, if they can’t do it or they don’t do it, they find out where I can,” Estabrook said. “Ibis has been a great go-to link when I might have a question that I feel is kind of stupid or don’t know the answer to, and I don’t want to bother my doctor with it.”
Ibis Health seems “to fill a need that I think was there, and I think it’s going to be a growing need now, because a lot of people have learned that doing things from home and Zooming isn’t too bad,” Estabrook said. “They coordinate with your doctors, which is what I wanted to make sure of, because I didn’t want my doctor to think I didn’t trust them. It’s a link in the chain that helps things along, and perhaps would prevent [you from] having to go to the ER or call an ambulance.”
Staying on top of her health issues has freed Estabrook up for other accomplishments: Last May, the former accounting clerk graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rockland with her bachelor’s degree, becoming a college graduate at the age of 69.