Insurer's App Aims to Lower Healthcare Costs, Securely

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , May 21, 2013

Users can add other symptoms for a more refined—dare I call it this?—diagnosis. There's also an element of big data to this, because the new version relies upon the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, a surveillance survey from the Centers for Disease Control, to determine the probability of a symptom being related to a disease for a certain age group, using Baysian statistical methods.

This is an exercise in technological force multiplication and disruption. The cloud is a transformative technology. Big data is another one. Mobile technology is a third. And adding secure, private communications to healthcare—something that's been cumbersome at best, and more often impractical—makes for a fourth.

If you doubt that this sort of innovation is turning heads, this may help you see the light: I am writing from the first-ever industry-wide healthcare tech investor conference, HealthBeat 2013 in San Francisco. The halls are teeming not with patients, and not even with doctors or tech geeks, but with investors.

Some of their portfolios are already bulging with energy and "clean tech" investments, now they seem to finally understand the urgency of tackling the healthcare tech problem once and for all.

This week, they're busy learning about ACOs, bundled payments, and meaningful use. The conference has the feel of another inflection point for healthcare technology—the moment that Silicon Valley's deep pockets and brain trusts really get it.

It could have the makings of another bubble. There's already dire talk here of a coming implosion of physician practices, of hospitals closing due to the unsustainable waste, and of the slow reactions of many healthcare systems.

It may not be pretty at times, but we need this transformation to speed up.


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Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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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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