CIGNA Corp. is working Holston Medical Group to test a relatively new approach to coordinating patient care.

The Bloomfield, Conn., managed care arm at CIGNA, Philadelphia (NYSE:CI), and Holston, Kingsport, Tenn., have started a “patient-centered medical home” program in the Tri-Cities and southwestern Virginia area.

A medical home approach has primary care physicians use sophisticated data analysis tools and outreach programs to manage and coordinate patients’ care and encourage patients to take better care of themselves.

About 150 health care professionals will participate in the CIGNA-Holston pilot.

In addition to electronic medical records and in-practice condition management, the pilot program will involve onsite urgent care, extended hours care, health care system navigation services and a pay-for-performance mechanism.

The pilot program started Aug. 1. Most of the participating patients have chronic conditions or other ongoing medical needs, CIGNA says.

Holston physicians serve a total of about 10,000 people, and 40% are in a group plan sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport, Tenn.

CIGNA intends to evaluate the results after the program has been in operation for at least 12 months, the company says.

- Allison Bell