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Health Insurance Gets Mobile

How Mobile Devices Are Improving the Insurance Experience

The affordable care act has opened new channels for sales as well as new challenges for insurance companies. With more one-to-one customer sales on the rise, insurance companies are working hard to be as efficient as possible. In tandem, insurance companies are expected to be more transparent with the end customer. Technology is pervading the healthcare system already, so customer (patients) expect their health insurance companies to be agile in how they communicate key information.

We already know that many patients are looking to track and monitor their health through their mobile devices, so why should tracking the cost of that care be any different?  mhealth, health insurance, text messaging, HIPPA compliantThe number of people using health related mobile apps is pretty low (somewhere between 32-38% of the US). However, text message updates have continued to rise and steadily grow as a useful tool for improving the experience. Ranging from pharmacy refills to appointment reminders, and even more personalized messages from the doctor.

 

 

Use Case: Blue Cross Integrates Behavioral Health

“Behavioral healthcare is an area that causes a lot of additional expenditures on the medical side,” says Ken Duckworth, MD, medical director for behavioral health at BCBSMA. (from Behavioral Healthcare)

In response to this issue, BCBSMA has created a mobile and online platform (OneHealth).  “It has a social media construct where individuals with addiction vulnerabilities can select who they can communicate with. Members can only participate in the online and mobile platform when referred to by a provider or the plan itself.” One of the key tools leverages text messaging for your support system. An individual can send a text message to three people if he or she needs support during time periods of potential relapse.

One of the aims of this new platform (other than the obvious help and support that it offers to patients) is the reduction of unnecessary emergency room visits and testing that can be highly expensive. Mental health is a key area where health insurance companies can provide tools such as this to reduce costs and better serve their customers.

 

 

Before You Find a Text Message Provider,

Be Aware of HIPAA Secure Messaging Guidelines

HIPAA text messaging software was introduced in 2013. These updated guidelines affect how PHI (protected health information) is stored, accessed and transmitted. It also requires that the software has specific features in place.

Key HIPPA Compliant Features:

    • It must be administered from a central point which protects PHI from unauthorized access.
    • Risk assessments should be conducted regularly to ensure that messaging is secure and compliant.
    • All PHI stored within the text message software should be encrypted in order to make it “indecipherable, unreadable or unusable” in case of unauthorized access.
    • It should not enable healthcare professionals or sub-contractors to maintain PHI on their personal mobile device memories.
    • The device can be removed from the system in the event of a mobile device being lost or stolen.

 

To learn more about Health Care Initiatives Using Text Messaging, visit HRSA.gov

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