SCAN Health Plan Earns Innovative Practice Award for Improving Digital Literacy and Access to Age-Inclusive Telehealth Services for Older Adults

The Center of Excellence for Telehealth and Aging recognizes SCAN Health Plan’s Insights Program and Technology, Education, and Coaching (TEC) Program’s use of technology-enabled care to provide
tele-behavioral health services and digital literacy coaching to older adults.

SAN DIEGO—FEB. 26, 2024— SCAN Health Plan’s Insights Program and Technology, Education, and Coaching (TEC) Program have earned the Age-Inclusive Telehealth Innovative Practice Award. This recognition is a testament to their outstanding initiatives, utilizing telehealth technology to enhance access to behavioral health services for older adults in Southern California. The award was presented by the Center of Excellence for Telehealth and Aging (CE4TA), a national organization established by the West Health Institute and its collaborative partners.

In 2016, SCAN Health Plan introduced the Insights Program to proactively tackle the prevalent mental health needs among its beneficiaries. This initiative was designed to adopt an integrated approach, specifically targeting areas such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, and overall quality of life. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the program shifted from in-person therapy sessions to audio-only. Therapists faced many challenges in maintaining engagement with their patients during one of the most isolating times in modern history.

Noticing an expanding digital divide among its clients, SCAN introduced the Technology, Education, and Coaching (TEC) Program in 2022. This program not only enhanced the efficiency of tele-behavioral services but also empowered individuals by fostering knowledge and comfort in utilizing technology for health management, social connection, and everyday necessities like grocery shopping.

“Clients in the Insights Program want to connect with family and friends,” says Pedro Carbajal-Madrid, LCSW, Clinical Director, “They want to engage in pleasurable activities and have access to other services. But often we find there is a lack of understanding of how to use technology for that purpose. And that’s where the TEC Program has helped.”

Between 2022 and 2023, these two programs have positively impacted more than 1,000 clients, demonstrating promising outcomes. The Insights Program participants reported up to a 55% improvement rate in their mental health, while those in the TEC Program reported a 68% increase in digital health literacy. Program graduates have also reported that the program has not only increased their confidence in using technology in their daily lives, but it has also positively impacted the lives of those they care for.

“Having completed the TEC Program, I am satisfied and happy to say it is an exceptional program,” one participant recalls. “Being the sole care provider for my sick husband and a full-time housemaker is such a challenging and isolating life. From what I have learned from this program, my quality of life has improved in a way that enables me to connect with my siblings more often using the apps on my iPad or iPhone to engage and socialize with my husband. [With my device] I have learned to research, read, and sometimes, watch free movies.”  

Both programs serve older adults and caregivers living in underserved and underrepresented communities across the Los Angeles and Orange counties. These SCAN Health Plan endeavors are a shining example of how aging adults can maintain independence for as long as possible.

“When we designed the [TEC] program, we did it with the idea of ‘let’s just make sure that we maximize the possibility for these clients to keep their independence and their health,’” adds Carbajal-Madrid.

Having achieved measurable success with its clients and earning recognition from The Center of Excellence for Telehealth and Aging, the TEC team now plans to expand the program across the state of California.

About the Age-Inclusive Telehealth Innovative Practice Award

The Age-Inclusive Telehealth Innovative Practice Award highlights innovative telehealth programs that operate on three core principles of telehealth delivery: telehealth should be (1) equitable and accessible, (2) person-centered, and (3) integrated and coordinated. To learn more about these principles and this program, visit ce4ta.org. Organizations can show their commitment to, and endorsement of, the principles of age-inclusive telehealth by adding their name to the Pledge of Support page.

About SCAN Health Plan

SCAN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to maintaining seniors’ health and independence. Since its establishment in 1977, this has been the organization’s primary mission. Today, this mission is realized through SCAN Health Plan, recognized as one of the largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans nationwide. Independence at Home, a SCAN community service, plays a crucial role by providing essential services and support to seniors, disabled adults, and their caregivers. Moreover, SCAN extends its impact through education programs, community funding, volunteer opportunities, and various other community services across its California service area. For more information, visit scanhealthplan.com or find us on social media at facebook.com/scanhealthplan or follow us on Twitter @scanhealthplan.

About The Center of Excellence for Telehealth and Aging

West Health Institute (WHI), the University of Virginia (UVA) Department of Geriatrics and the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center (MATRC) partnered to create the Center of Excellence for Telehealth and Aging (CE4TA). CE4TA was established to advance the adoption of age-inclusive telehealth. It is a unique platform to foster a national discussion and movement to advance age-inclusive telehealth for older adults. CE4TA’s mission is to provide an open learning community that supports providers and organizations in delivering high-quality and effective care to older adults that accounts for their unique needs and supports their ability to age in place and live with dignity.

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