Posted by: RedaChouffani
insurance carriers, mhealth, mobile health, Reform
The recent changes to health care reform and the increased regulations imposed on insurance companies are forcing payers to rethink their strategies to both maintain members, and profits. In order to keep costs down, payers have had to play an increasing role in helping their subscribers live healthy lifestyles.
To help members lead active lives and make healthier choices — and ultimately help drive down the cost of care — different payers have taken different approaches. While some have created wellness campaigns and may offer a cash back rebate for fintess club membership, others send out newsletters about healthy living and are optimizing their reach through social networks and online messaging.
UnitedHealth Group is one organization that took a mobile approach to this. On Mar. 21, UnitedHealth Group announced the release of the “OptumizeMe” mobile application for Android and iPhone, with existing support of Windows Phone 7. This application is designed to encourage healthy living through social networking, namely helping friends connect and compete for better health outcomes.
The group is also taking advantage of social media by integrating popular sites such as Facebook to encourage the spread of healthy behavior. This is a great example of how mhealth apps can provide value to a business and consumers.
We are most likely going to see more apps being rolled out to patients from their insurance carrier that can assist with:
Provide access to Personal Health Record (PHR) data
Wellness programs and meal suggestions
Access to EOB (Explanation of Benefits)
Healthy living tips
Rewards on healthy living such as coupons to certain restaurants
Provide news about new treatments and generic drugs
Medical educational information on patient’s condition
These mobile applications, without a doubt, can provide tremendous value to the consumer. And while some patients may still be concerned about their privacy, in regards to data being available to payers, the benefits and potential for cusomized care, such as a meal plan for diabetic patients on the go, could far outweigh the risks.