In what is being called an industry first, a national health insurer is offering the online self-management workshops piloted by Stanford University, designed as part of its chronic care management solution. Humana Inc.’s Humana Cares national complex and chronic care management division is partnering with the National Council on Aging to make Stanford University’s online Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) available.

Humana reports that 100 of its members throughout the United States will participate in the online workshops that focus on better managing the problems common to those suffering from chronic diseases, such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes or other chronic conditions.

The first of four workshops consisting of about 25 Humana Cares members is already under way, and the national pilot is expected to conclude by the end of 2012.

“Stanford’s approach aligns perfectly with our goal of helping our members attain the best quality of life possible,” said Jean Bisio, Humana Cares president. “It’s a truly interactive program designed to help people be more engaged in managing their own health and benefit from interacting with others who also live with chronic illness every day.”

During the six-week workshops, members are equipped with proven practical skills to help them manage their unique conditions over the long-term. They participate in self-management activities, including proper diet, exercise, appropriate use of medications, symptom management and enhanced communication with their doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. The program to date appears to be working.

“In the original trial, after six months, CDSMP participants reported many significant improvements in their health, including increased energy, decreased disability, fewer hospitalizations and better communication with their physicians,” said Bisio.

Stanford reports that it’s CDSMP has been proven through more than 20 years of development and research supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Harnessing the power of self -management will improve health and save money, and we thank Humana Cares for piloting this program as part of its approach to improving the health and reducing the cost of care for people with multiple chronic health conditions,” said Jay Greenberg, Sc.D, NCOA SVP for Social Enterprise.

This story originally appeared on Insurance Networking News, a sister publication to Health Data Management.

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