Payers take steps forward with mobile apps in 2014
In a busy year for the healthcare industry, payers tried to move beyond the technical glitches and court rulings associated with the Affordable Care Act and focus instead on the ACA's aim to make healthcare more accessible and personal.
To play into this idea of the consumerization of healthcare, payers have been busy exploring mobile applications that keep their members healthy and temper rising healthcare costs.
Of course, this has been no walk in the park--consumers have been slow to adopt insurers' mobile apps, while healthcare still hasn't been able to effectively harness data in a way to make it useful.
Amid certain ups and downs, there have been a few bright spots over the past year. Listed below are five insurers who took a few steps forward in 2014--with some missteps along the way--to improve the health of their members through mobile technology.
When Aetna launched CarePass last year, hopes were high--the mobile platform was a unique approach in an industry that continues to adopt digital transformation. Aetna received much support and collaboration from mobile companies for CarePass, but it was not enough. The insurer announced over the summer that it will shut down both the mobile and web experiences of CarePass.
So what's on the horizon for Aetna? The insurer is focusing on its iTriage app, which has been downloaded about 13 million times, Aetna's Chief Innovation & Digital Officer Michael Palmer told FierceHealthPayer in a previous interview. The app is a tremendous way to engage people, and helps the insurer drive more appropriate and efficient care, noted Palmer.
In October, Cigna made headlines by launching a new digital health coaching program that offers a "digital ecosystem" of mobile tools, social media engagement, gamification and Web-based incentives to help its members meet their goals.
Cigna Health Matters combines clinical insights, health coaches, digital tools measurement and reward engines to ensure members get and stay on the right and healthy path.
"We saw the need for a solution that ties together the personal touch of health coaches and the high-tech touch of gamification, health apps and web-based incentives," Eric Herbeck, Cigna's vice president of product development and consumer health engagement, told FierceHealthPayer.