Increase in Patient-Facing Insurance Apps
An article in Healthcare Finance News reported on the increase in patient-oriented insurance apps during the fourth quarter of 2017. Some of the chief goals of these apps were: consolidating information regarding payouts and providers to make it easier for patients to access, providing patient portals where patients could access their own healthcare information, and improving provider-patient communication. In related healthcare tech news, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to increase payments for telehealth consults and provide coverage for remote patient monitoring.
Member engagement was the watchword for health insurers in the fourth quarter, as we saw consumer-facing app launches or related moves from Humana, Anthem, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare.
Anthem announced plans to launch a patient communication hub called Engage.
Engage includes three main features: a single sign-on hub for all of a member’s different benefits, an engagement and activation platform, and search tools for cost and quality comparison. The other benefit of the platform is that it pulls together all the different clinical and wellness tools Anthem offers, from telemedicine, to nurse calls, to fitness tracker-powered wellness programs.
Cigna’s latest attempt to support this vision is a patient-facing app called OneGuide, which is currently in use by 1.7 million of Cigna’s 15 million covered lives. OneGuide evolved out of a digital health pilot called Compass. UnitedHealthcare’s executives spoke about the company’s operations more broadly at the conference, but did hint toward future plans involving apps and sensors.
Humana launched an app called RXMentor to help patient track their medications, and piloted a triage program for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) sufferers.
RXMentor, which is designed to help patients manage their medications, lets patients keep an up-to-date list of prescription medications, supplements, and over-the-counter items in one place. It will also give clinicians insight into what drugs their patients are taking. In a pilot study, the tool helped patients managing multiple health conditions and taking three or four medications simplify their daily routines. [Humana began piloting] Revon Systems’ mobile self-triage platform, the Revon Smart Symptom Tracker.
WellCare began offering the MyWellCare app to patients in South Carolina, and launched an app in Missouri.
Finally, WellCare Health Plans’ South Carolina subsidiary is now offering the MyWellCare app to Medicaid members within the state. The free app allows members to access their health plan benefits on iOS and Android devices, and can be used to find nearby providers, receive reminders on flu shots or other preventive health screenings, and can send member identification information electronically to providers. The app is also available in Spanish…
Local subsidiary Missouri Care’s mobile app will allow patients to find a doctor or dentist, locate nearby urgent care centers or hospitals, access wellness services, display their Missouri Care Member ID card or send it to the provider, and receive member updates.
In addition, a number of insurers made strategic partnerships to boost patient engagement. Cigna-HealthSpring partnered with Lyft to provide patients with transportation to medical appointment. Amerigroup Medicare Advantage plans in Texas will offer free telemedicine consultation through LiveHealth Online. UnitedHealthcare is incentivizing exercise using wearable activity trackers through the Qualcomm Life Motion program.