Seeking Patient Engagement, Payer Curates Mobile Apps

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , July 9, 2013

Aetna is rounding out its mobile strategy by selecting more than 20 Web-based healthcare applications for its own CarePass wellness app, which pulls data from various sources and presents visualizations of progress toward goals.

Most patients think of their health insurance company as a source of never-ending paperwork and denied claims. Aetna, through technology, is working to bust that stereotype.

The insurer's latest move is to effectively become a curator of mobile and Web-based healthcare apps, rounding out the company's mobile strategy, which already includes iTriage, the popular mobile phone app the company acquired last year.

Martha Wofford, Aetna

Aetna's CarePass app

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini spearheaded the development of a wellness app called CarePass to make buying healthcare as convenient as going to a store, scanning a bar code, finding the best price online, and having it shipped to his home.

By the way, this practice, known as "showrooming," drives retailers crazy. Likewise, some doctors will be a bit agitated by Aetna's new app, for it draws together the new crop of wellness apps, but doesn't yet advance interoperability of those apps with electronic medical records.

But if healthcare providers are going to engage patients, they have to assume different roles: curator, coach, cheerleader, and concierge. CarePass pulls data out of different wellness apps and visualizes consumers' progress towards a goal, and so doing aspires to solidify Aetna's brand in new ways.

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