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It is clear: Mobile is the new face of client engagement for the healthcare industry – and it is important to have a mobile strategy to address all clients. For instance, in 2012 a Pew Internet study reported that one in three cell phone owners have used their phone to access health information. And according to a Nielsen study, minorities are lead- ing adopters of smartphone and tablet technology, and seniors are the fastest- growing segment of smartphone users. It is important to understand the diversity of health plan members and adopt the right mobile strategies to engage them.

Features that truly empower

Another pitfall for health plans oc- curs when trying to replicate existing website features to create a mobile app, as this is not a sustainable mobile de- velopment strategy. Instead, what they need to do is to re-imagine the possibili- ties of mobile, and approach it as a whole new channel to create a diff erent user experience and enable diff erent activities than a website. For example, leverage GPS capabilities in the application to enable mobile users to fi nd facilities or contacts with one click. “Even though there’s a plethora of information you can enable through a mobile device, there’s a limit to what you should do,” says Matthew Penwell, director of the Web offi ce at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. “It’s about providing the right experience and easing the customer’s life.”

Delivering mobile service experience

When designing a health plan ap- plication, insurers need to plan with a “mobile fi rst” approach in mind and prioritize the key features that empower consumers most. Besides click to call, the following features are among the most popular: • Find a doctor/facility; • Benefi ts details; • Account and claims summary; and • 3-D identifi cation cards.

www.healthmgttech.com

Moreover, prescription drug research

is yet another feature that puts infor- mation right into the patient’s hands, helping to compare available options.

Serving new members

Health insurers are starting to imple- ment features to engage individuals and then enable these consumers to shop for and compare plans. With that, it’s clear that mobile plays an important role in healthcare customer retention and loy- alty programs. Moreover, with mobile and tablet devices infi ltrating the sales side as well, agents are able to be more productive in enrolling new members and managing the sales cycle. Various features – such as benefi ts overview, plan comparison, low-cost alternatives, lead management and application status – signifi cantly streamline the sales and enrollment process.

Empowering with wellness management tools

In line with tremendously improv- ing the self-service experience, mobile devices help to provide proactive patient care by delivering easy-to-use healthy- living resources. For example, wellness management and symptom research apps are among the most popular tools to empower patients to live healthier lives. Aetna provides access to unique, innovative mobile tools to help consum- ers make better, smarter and safer health- care decisions and become more engaged in their healthcare. Among these tools is iTriage, which allows users to research their symptoms, fi nd a medical provider that best serves their needs and book ap- pointments all from their smartphones. Aetna also works with Mindbloom, which blends the principles of behav- ioral science with social gaming to off er a fun, simple experience to inspire people to live healthy, productive and balanced lives. Finally, Aetna gives con- sumers access to the CarePass platform, which off ers simple, convenient access to some of the best health and wellness

HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY

apps in the marketplace. CarePass allows consumers to share information across these apps to create a more personalized experience and help manage their whole health, from getting care to staying well to earning rewards. Health insurers are now beginning

to realize the true value of mobile in educating, encouraging and developing habits for a healthier lifestyle that has the potential to signifi cantly reduce costs in the long run. In order to truly embrace the power of mobility, health plans should be prepared to overcome numerous implementation challenges, which include prioritizing the ap- plication roadmap, choosing the best strategy, off ering the right features and choosing the right delivery methods for a diverse member base. With today’s innovative mobile development tools, healthcare insurers don’t need to lock themselves into a multi-year strategy, but rather can have the fl exibility to adapt their eff orts to improve their of- ferings incrementally.

HMT

IMAGE COURTESY APPLE INC.

February 2013 11

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