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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jun 10 2012   9:46PM GMT

Aetna helping accelerate innovation by making data freely accessible to developers



Posted by: RedaChouffani
Aetna, BIG DATA, mhealth, mHealth apps, mobile apps, mobile health, Online health services, Software applications

As we continue to see the fruits of the health care IT start-up boom, we see many new organizations introducing disruptive products and solutions as part of their offerings.  For the majority of the health care market, there are already many established major players for EHR, radiology, HIS, and other commonly used software solutions.  But with the popularity of mobility solutions, things are changing slightly. Specifically, many start-ups have been introducing innovative online health services, fitness and nutritional mobile solutions and mhealth products that have corresponding health and wellness social components.

That being said, health care technology can at times be quite intimidating for those who are not as familiar with the use of “big data” and the interpretation of numerous data sets being synthesized everyday to make these apps work.  At times, access to any data can be almost impossible due to sensitivity of the information and lack of a secure way in which to retrieve.

But recently Aetna has been helping developers in both US and around the world to accelerate their development of new software applications and mobile capabilities.  This was done through CarePass web portal that offers access to data via RESTful web services.

Currently the site makes the following data available:

  • Health Data by HHS: The data currently contains NDC Drug information, FDA Drugs, documented Recalls, clinical Trials information in the US and around the word.
  • Retail Rx Pricing through GoodRx: This provides estimated pricing on drugs from retail pharmacies
  • Cost of Care by Aetna: This estimated cost information comes from Aetna Life Insurance Company’s Cost of Care Estimator. The Aetna Cost of Care Estimator provides information on the Aetna’s average contracted rates with providers in your area (“In Network”) or the average price that providers who do not contract with Aetna billed Aetna for that service in your area (“Out of Network”). Aetna estimates costs by averaging sufficient available charges and adjusting the average for inflation and other factors. The Aetna cost estimates are based on a year of care.
  • CarePass Sync: That provides personal health, wellness and nutrition for consumers.  This has not been released yet.
  • De-identified claims data: This data set will most likely be one of the most sought after.  Claims information as we all know contains diagnosis information, procedures, date of service, location and facility information.  The information would be a gold mine for many analysts.  Traditionally access to this information for software developers was limited, and unless you worked for a healthcare organizations most would not have access to this data.

This is a great example of online services that will help shape how data can be used in the future.  In addition, access to this information will help innovators utilize and create products and services that can truly help improve the health of all consumers.

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