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Providing The Basics In Innovation For Consumers

posted by AHIP

on January 10, 2017

With the success of Fitbit and Pokémon Go the health care industry has a prime opportunity to foster positive lifestyle choices through wearables and apps. These tools have health care organizations looking to usher health care into a new technological revolution. But what if that isn’t what our consumers want?

Consumers aren’t looking for the next big thing in health care, according to a June 2016 survey by Strategy PwC. What they want is something they already get from the banking and retail industries: convenience.

Today’s consumers can do on their mobile phones what once required going into stores and banks. They can go shopping, deposit a check, make a restaurant reservation, and more.

While consumers can download a number of health-focused mobile apps or purchase health monitoring devices, the survey shows people prefer practical over transformative when it comes to technology features. As seen in the graphic below, the top five technology features consumers ranked as important all highlight a need for simple health care interactions.

  1. Out-of-pocket cost estimator
  2. Simple access to health records (online and mobile)
  3. Mobile post-care instructions and follow-up notifications
  4. Online appointment scheduling with in-network providers
  5. Central payment portal to both health plan and to providers

The technology features that landed in the bottom five included:

  1. Online care-financing consultation
  2. Link data from wearables to health records
  3. Receive wearables/remote monitoring devices from your health plan
  4. Interactive tool for self-diagnosis
  5. Health and wellness goals management programs

It’s great to see health insurers listening to and meeting this consumer demand for simplicity. Oscar Health’s mobile app is an excellent example. It allows members to view their Oscar health history, connect with a doctor on call, and make appointments. The app empowers consumers and turns some common pain points of the health care process into experiences that benefit their everyday lives.

Similarly, mobile apps provided by Cigna and Humana allow consumers to view important coverage and benefits information, as well as locate in-network providers to obtain high-quality, affordable care.

A take away for the health care industry is to focus on the fundamentals of innovation, then take it to the next level and roll out the extravagant.


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