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M-health, Mobile Apps from the Payer Perspective

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, January 29, 2013

Are healthcare payers ready to reimburse for m-health and mobile phone apps? This week, the conclusion of my healthcare-focused conversation at the International Consumer Electronics Show with Reed Tuckson, MD, UnitedHealthcare group executive vice president and chief of medical affairs.

HLM: What role do you think technology is going to play in mental health?

Tuckson: I think we are especially excited around the telepsychiatry services that are going on in mental health. We recognize the real issues of availability of supply, of trained mental health workers, and we clearly understand also the logistics of geography.

Telepsychiatry is really becoming an established, recognized field, and it is also encouraging that patients actually are not intimidated by not having a person in the room geographically and spatially with them, and seem to respond well to the technology.

HLM: So you've been reimbursing for it widely for a long time.

Tuckson: Yeah, just as we have been reimbursing for synchronous video communication on the clinical side. We reimburse the same for synchronous video on the clinical side as we do for whether you were spatially in the room.

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1 comments on "M-health, Mobile Apps from the Payer Perspective"


Mark Ragusa (1/30/2013 at 2:24 PM)
Very good information.... some thoughts. The rapid rate of mobile health adoption reflects the convenience and utility inherent in mobile apps and devices. Health systems have an opportunity to meet patients where they are increasingly turning for health management: mobile devices. This is patient engagement at its most powerful. Engaged patients will increasingly drive a health system's success. Today that means HCAHPS and readmissions. Tomorrow that means population health and ACOs. Smart health systems understand that and are investing in mobile. For others, the window will eventually close and their patients will turn elsewhere for health management. http://axialexchange.com/blog/category/axial-mobile