The University of Alabama and Ceras Health partner to deliver innovative health services for vulnerable Alabama patients

January 30, 2023

The University of Alabama’s University Medical Center is partnering with Ceras Health to offer an innovative digital health monitoring program to patients 65 and older and those with limited health-care access

Through its partnership with the Boston-based Ceras Health, UMC will provide state-of-the-art health services and better care to vulnerable Alabama patients.

Using leading-edge patient digital devices, which monitor vital signs and other health factors to provide access to patient health data in real-time, UMC will help patients manage diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions. UMC physicians will also be able to monitor patients transitioning from hospital to home and more closely oversee their recovery.

“University Medical Center has a long tradition of working to improve health in Alabama communities,” said Dr. Richard Friend, dean of UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, which operates UMC. “Our work with Ceras Health will bring the company’s Digital Transitions of Care solutions to improve patient connections with their care teams upon leaving the hospital, or after being seen at one of our six UMC outpatient clinics, so that our patients can receive optimal care when needed and where they are most comfortable – at home. We hope this work is a first step to creating collaborations that innovate primary care delivery across the Southeast.”

The cost of providing in-patient and out-patient care for the country’s older adults is expected to grow significantly during the next decade due to a growing elderly population and increasing health-care costs. Spending on Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older, is projected to increase from $768 billion in 2022 to nearly $1.6 trillion in 2032. In Alabama, approximately one million residents are enrolled in Medicare, about 21% of the population.

Alabama is also a largely rural state, where access to health care is limited in many communities. More than 80% of the state is classified as rural (54 of 67 counties), and seven counties have no public-access hospitals, complicating access to care and care delivery for nearly half of Alabama’s residents.

Leveraging digital health to extend the reach of care teams for older patients and those with limited access to care creates a significant opportunity for better health outcomes, particularly in critical areas for vulnerable patients such as after-hospital discharge and chronic condition monitoring, Friend said.

“Through University Medical Center, The University of Alabama is the first in the region to bring Digital Transitions of Care to improve the patient experience, especially for Medicare and rural populations,” said Udaya Devineni, chief executive officer of Ceras Health. “Our partnership with The University of Alabama will help bring impactful, personalized care to patients with chronic diseases and after hospital discharge, without having to travel far. This contributes to enhanced health equity, outcomes and experience while reducing the cost of care.”

UMC and Ceras will continue to explore and expand their partnership to incorporate other areas of mutual interest, including various research and development projects, and academic courses and program offerings, Friend said.