Three stories last week from MobiHealthNews highlight how payers really are the keystone in mobile health adoption. In essence, all the new hardware in the world won’t translate into better health outcomes unless someone steps up to the plate and pays for it.
Often, we see the Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans Affairs groups in the US Government leading the way when it comes to trying new technologies in their efforts to cut costs. The VA is now looking at mobile health trackers to help with outcome measurement, and increasingly, remuneration for healthcare providers.
“We’ve allowed for outcome monitoring devices for the first time ever,” Dr. Joe Miller, National Program Director for Orthotic and Prosthetic Services at the VA, told MobiHealthNews. “And we’ve developed a methodology for paying for these devices. The industry is constantly referring to different devices and outcomes. But nobody has prescribed a way or developed a way for how you go about collecting those outcome measures.”
We have seen a number of app announcements from insurers over the past year and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is the next in line. The goal seems to be to increase the adherence to program for substance abuse sufferers and to help them stay out of clinics where they will incur higher costs for the insurer.
OneHealth offers members 24/7 structured peer support, education and tools to aide in the recovery from substance abuse, according to the health insurance company. The program uses social media and real-time tracking to monitor emotional states and to provide anonymous peer supports to help the member or their dependents stay sober.
The health insurer, Aetna, made the news when the company began investing in CarePass and providing it not only to its clients, but anyone. Essentially a health tracker, CarePass was supposed to be the consumer-facing connection point for Aetna and its customers to help them better manage their health. The cancellation has received a lot of press ad industry watchers try to figure out what this means for health apps in general.