Insurer's App Aims to Lower Healthcare Costs, Securely

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , May 21, 2013

There's nothing very satisfying about a secure Web portal from a user experience standpoint. But apps such as iTriage are hot. In the iTunes app store alone, it has more than 70,000 reviews, an unheard-of number, even for game apps, according to iTriage co-founder and chief medical officer Wayne Guerra, MD. In all, more than 8 million people have downloaded iTriage to enter their symptoms and be directed to appropriate medical help.

So, the next release of the app, which was acquired by Aetna in 2011, will connect those questioning patients directly to their doctors, (if the doctors' health plans enter into agreements with iTriage). No more tedious logging into secure Web portals. Now, answers will be available with a couple of smartphone gestures.

It's not just a boon for patients. The app also helps providers meet a Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirement that a small but significant amount of data shared between patients and providers be secure. "Even five percent is a huge task, if no one's going to your portal," Guerra says.

Guerra tells me that iTriage has a letter of intent with Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System to manage a population of 100,000 Medicaid lives through this new app. Another Medicaid population in Delaware will see iTriage through the Delaware Physicians Network. More deals are in the works, he says.

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2 comments on "Insurer's App Aims to Lower Healthcare Costs, Securely"

Deb (5/22/2013 at 1:57 PM)
Question, who, or what entity is in charge of determining what "care" options are offered? While the article states that patients "engaged in the knowledge of medicine, the knowledge of treatment, understanding the ecosystem" is important, I'd guess that "care" options presented will be limited by what someone else defines as appropriate - not by what a particular person may deem best for their health. It's hard enough for any practitioner to see beyond their world, something like this seems more likely to limit options than expand them. For example, for someone with what may be chronic gut issues, will the dat return the result of how simply changing one's diet (a very cost effective solution) can eliminate such distress. Or, will acupuncture or SCENAR be offered in the vast world of "pain management." Will mindfulness practices be recommended for stressors? Whatever data is loaded in is critical to allowing people to truly have a range of knowledge about the vast range of "medicines" available.

Dr P (5/22/2013 at 11:32 AM)
Patients can just go to the WebMD website and get their diagnosis. Nobody with a busy life and job would use this App...this is for the new generation of Obamabots who have no jobs and lay around doing nothing all day.




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