Cigna and Samsung Team Up to Deliver Digital Health Improvement Platform

Global health service company Cigna and the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile devices,Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., announced they have signed a multi-year agreement to co-develop health and wellness related features built into Samsung’s S Health on Samsung’s major smart mobile devices.

According to a CIGNA release, the initial development is focused on delivering health-related tips and articles through the Samsung S Health Application, with an ultimate goal of connecting individuals with caregivers, doctors and hospitals to improve health and wellness globally.

Cigna content is incorporated into Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in select countries, including United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain beginning in October 2013. Over the next year, additional co-developed functions and features will find their way to Samsung’s mobile devices worldwide.

 

Cigna and Socialwellth to Unveil Marketplace for Health Apps

Global health service company Cigna  and digital health social engagement company SocialWellth™ are co-creating a selective and curated Go You Cigna Marketplace™ that cuts through the clutter of mobile health apps.   Cigna customers looking to improve their health and well-being will have easy access to balanced living apps that are certified as being effective and most engaging.

Go You Cigna Marketplace health apps are certified to help ensure consumers find effective, high quality apps with the appropriate clinical content.  SocialWellth’s certification process leverages behavioral psychologists, information architects and other internal and external subject matter experts. Using quick-polls, the marketplace initiates a digital dialog with consumers to gain insights that will ultimately drive a hyper-personalized experience.

See the full story at SocialWellth.com

 

Why Qualcomm Is Betting on Wireless Health

Qualcomm Life, launched two years ago as a division of the San Diego–based telecommunications giant Qualcomm, is building software and protocols that could bring some order to the chaos of health data. Its first product, called the 2Net Platform, is a system for getting wireless data off those devices and onto the Internet servers of clients, like health device makers or hospitals.

About half of American adults have some kind of chronic condition, including obesity, arthritis, or diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wireless devices could let more of their health care happen at home. A PricewaterhouseCoopers report this year estimated that mobile health technology could help save developed countries $400 billion by 2017.

See the full story at Technology Review.com

Sprint Forms Mobile Health Care Business Accelerator

Sprint Corp. has launched a business startup program in Kansas City with Techstars, the same partner that Microsoft brought to Seattle and Nike to Portland, Ore.

Techstars, based in Boulder, Colo., has worked with more than 300 young companies through 11 business accelerator programs like the one Sprint announced Tuesday.

Together, they hope to tap into and expand the Kansas City area’s entrepreneurial surge and expertise in life sciences through the Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator.
See the full story at KansasCity.com

Health Care Information On The Go For Bluecross Members

CHATTANOOGA – BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee just launched its first member mobile application designed to meet the growing need for convenient mobile access to health care information. With the myBlue TN(SM) app, members can easily and quickly reach their health care information on the go.

BlueCross members can simply sign in to access in-network physicians, urgent care facilities and pharmacies based on location. They also can see how much they still owe on a deductible plus check a claim or access their mobile ID card. Members can also register for BlueAccess(SM), the online member portal, from within the application to gain access to its full feature set.

See the full story at BCBS.com

Health Insurers Have Further to go to Build Links to Customers With Social, Mobile Tools

Health insurers have further to go in using mobile tools and social media to develop a community with consumers, according to EveryMove, a health rewards-based marketing and incentives company. It has released its EveryMove 100 Health Insurance Index, which ranked the top 100 health insurance companies in the United States on how they engage with consumers to manage their own health.

As more individuals will be shopping for health plans in health insurance exchanges (HIXes) as a result of the mandate in the Affordable Care Act to have insurance, more transparency will be needed in how insurers meet consumers’ needs and interact with them, according to EveryMove, which released its rankings Aug. 27.

Read the full story at eweek.com

HHS Promotes Digital Strategy With Consumer-Facing Apps

HHS has released 33 consumer-facing apps designed to foster consumers’ engagement with their healthcare, a key part of the department’s digital strategy.

The apps have a variety of different functionalities, from calculating a user’s body mass index to finding the nearest federally funded health center to helping a user quit smoking.

Read the full story at BeckersHospital Review.com

 

Virtual Coaching: One Health Plan’s Clever Weight Loss Program

In June of this year, the Government Employee Health Association (GEHA), Independence, Mo., the nation’s second-largest health plan for civilian federal employees and retirees, enrolled 1,500 members in a virtual weight loss management program that it says was successful with nearly 80 percent of participants in 2012. That’s a significant milestone, because it demonstrates that a Web-based technology can be an effective and relatively low-cost way for individuals to lower their health risks.

Read the full story at healthcare-informatics.com

Consumers Are Ready to Adopt Mobile Health Faster than the Health Industry is Prepared to Adapt;

NEW YORK, June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Widespread adoption of mobile technology in healthcare, or mHealth, is now viewed as inevitable in both developed and emerging markets around the world, but the pace of adoption will likely be led by emerging markets and lag consumer demand, according to a new global study conducted for PwC Global Healthcare by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The ground breaking study, Emerging mHealth: paths for growth, found that consumers have high expectations for mHealth, particularly in developing economies as mobile cellular subscriptions there become ubiquitous. In emerging markets, consumers perceive mHealth as a way to increase access to healthcare while patients in developed markets see it as a way to improve the convenience, cost and quality of healthcare.

According to the report, if the promise of mHealth is realized by consumers, the impact on healthcare delivery could be significant and fundamentally alter traditional relationships within the healthcare industry.  The use of mHealth and speed of adoption will be determined in each country by stakeholders’ response to mHealth as a disruptive innovation to overcome structural impediments and align interests around patients’ needs and expectations.

“Despite demand and the obvious potential benefits of mHealth, rapid adoption is not yet occurring. The main barriers are not the technology but rather systemic to healthcare and inherent resistance to change,” said David Levy, MD, global healthcare leader, PwC.  “Though many people think mobile health will be ancillary or bolted on to the healthcare industry, we look at it differently:  mHealth is the future of healthcare, deeply integrated into delivery that will be better, faster, less expensive and far more customer-focused.”

In the report, the EIU examines the current state and potential of mHealth (defined as the provision of healthcare or health-related information through the use of mobile devices) and the barriers to adoption and opportunities for companies seeking growth in the mHealth market.  The report includes findings of two surveys conducted by the EIU:  one of consumers and one of physicians and government and private payers in 10 markets, including Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, India, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.

The consumer survey found:

  • Roughly one-half of consumers predict that within the next three years, mHealth will improve the convenience (46 percent), cost (52 percent) and quality (48 percent) of their healthcare.
  • Fifty-nine percent of emerging market patients use at least one mHealth application or service, compared with 35 percent in the developed world. Nearly half of consumers said they expect mHealth will change the way they manage chronic conditions (48 percent), their medication (48 percent) and their overall health (49 percent).  Six in ten consumers (59 percent) expect mHealth to change the way they seek information on health issues and 48 percent expect it to change the way they communicate with physicians.
  • Among consumers who already are using mHealth services, 59 percent said they have replaced some visits to doctors or nurses.
  • The top three reasons consumers want to use mHealth is to have more convenient access to their doctor or healthcare provider (46 percent), to reduce out-of-pocket healthcare costs (43 percent) and to take greater control over their health (32 percent).
  • Sixty percent of consumers said they believe doctors are not as interested in mHealth as patients and technology companies are.

The study found that physicians and payers are more cautious than consumers in their outlook for mHealth. Specifically:

  • Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of doctors and payers said that mHealth offers exciting possibilities but there are too few proven business models.  In addition, the effectiveness of mHealth changing patient behaviour is evolving.  For example, more than two-thirds of consumer respondents who have used mHealth wellness or fitness applications with manual data entry discontinued it after the first six months.
  • Only 27 percent of physicians encourage patients to use mHealth applications to become more active in managing their health, and 13 percent of physicians actually discourage it.
  • Forty-two percent of doctors surveyed worry that mHealth will make patients too independent.
  • Payers appear to be far more supportive of mHealth than physicians. Forty percent of payers compared to 25 percent of physicians encourage patients to let doctors monitor their health and activities using mHealth services and devices.
  • Payers and providers both cited multiple barriers to the adoption of mHealth, notably the complexity and scope of change associated with mHealth. Public sector doctors and payers cited lack of existing technology as the biggest barrier to greater use of mHealth adoption.  Sixty-three percent of physicians in the private sector versus only 40 percent in the public sector have access to wireless connectivity at work.
  • Forty-five percent of doctors and payers said that the application of inappropriate regulations originally developed for earlier technologies is slowing the adoption of mHealth.
  • More than one quarter – 27 percent of doctors and 26 percent of payers – cite an inherently conservative culture as a leading barrier to the adoption of mHealth.

“The adoption of mobile health in emerging markets versus developed markets is a paradox,” said Christopher Wasden, EdD, global healthcare innovation Leader, PwC. “In developed markets, mHealth is perceived as disrupting the status quo, whereas in emerging countries it is seen as creating a new market, full of opportunity and growth potential.  In younger, developing economies, healthcare is less constrained by healthcare infrastructure and entrenched interests. Consumers are more likely to use mobile devices and mHealth applications, and more payers are willing to cover the cost of mHealth services.”

According to PwC, innovators seeking opportunities in mHealth, including telecommunications and technology companies, must work to overcome the barriers slowing widespread adoption of mHealth.   They can help to alleviate healthcare’s resistance to change by focusing less on the technology and more on effective, customer-focused solutions that add value for health organizations and patient quality of life.

In its analysis, PwC identifies strategic considerations for companies active in the mHealth arena. In addition, PwC will publish a series of insights over the next several months on the evolving mHealth landscape with perspective on what it means for stakeholders, including government and regulators, pharmaceutical and life science companies, payers and providers.

A full copy of the EIU report is available for download at www.pwc.com/mhealth.

About PwC’s Health Industries Group

PwC’s Health Industries Group (www.pwc.com/us/healthindustries) is a leading advisor to public and private organizations across the health industries, including healthcare providers, pharmaceuticals, health and life sciences, payers, employers, academic institutions and non-health organizations with significant presence in the health market. Follow PwC Health Industries at http://twitter.com/PwCHealth.

About the PwC network

PwC US helps organizations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. We’re a member of the PwC network of firms with 169,000 people in more than 158 countries. We’re committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at www.pwc.com/us.

© 2012 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership. All rights reserved.

PwC refers to the US member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

This content is for general information purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisors.

 

SOURCE PwC

Source: PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1dxBQ)

 

Independence Blue Cross Presents Next-gen Mobile Insurer Apps At Insurance & Tech Executive Summit

PHILADELPHIA, Nov 7, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) — Independence Blue Cross announced that its director of e-Business, Michael B. Yetter, will speak today about mobile app marketing strategies in health care with other industry leaders at the Insurance & Technology Annual Executive Summit held in Carefree, Arizona.

“As we look into 2012 and beyond, there are technologies and concepts that play a significant role in shaping development of next-gen apps for our health plan members, including Mobile Health, which is better known as mHealth,” said Yetter. “‘Gamification’ is a growing trend in the mobile app industry, which is applying game design concepts and principles to mobile apps to further strengthen our member engagement. People like to be entertained, to compete, and to be rewarded. The more these principles are applied to mobile apps, the deeper the engagement with the consumer. IBC is exploring cutting edge ways to ‘gamify’ mobile app strategies already in place, and we will soon be piloting a new wellness engagement and competition program that we hope to offer more broadly next year.”

Another hot topic as the health care industry shifts toward more individual coverage is mobile payment systems, and Yetter will discuss next-gen ideas for individuals to pay their health plan bills with their phones.

“IBC made a strong entry into the mobile app space during 2011 and we plan to continue to innovate for our customers and members, using the latest technologies to provide the time-saving features and convenience that their lives demand,” Yetter added.

Yetter will discuss the mobile platform race between Apple iOS, Google Android, Blackberry, and Windows in phone devices and tablets. He will share his insights that, while some platforms may lose market share, there is no single winner currently emerging, and developers will continue to face complexity in building apps for several health care industry platforms.

The Insurance & Technology Executive Summit is an invitation-only event for senior-level insurance company executives. The conference presents relevant content, authoritative speakers, and networking opportunities for sponsors. The event is comprised of conference sessions, vendor meetings, and networking-focused social activities.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 73 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross’s HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.