Aetna transmits plan information with new menu of mobile apps

May 1, 2010

In March, Aetna launched Aetna On-the-Go, providing members access to online features, mobile applications, and text messaging.

HARTFORD, CONN.-In an increasingly information-driven world, health plans are embracing innovative communication. In March, Aetna launched Aetna On-The-Go, providing members access to online features, mobile applications and text messaging.

"Our culture is increasingly on the go, with one in five Americans accessing the mobile Web on a typical day," says Meg McCabe, vice president of consumer marketing and product for Aetna.

The need for member relationship building drove the product launch. By providing members timely information in a preferred medium, Aetna hopes to differentiate itself in the market.

Aetna developed a personal health record, Price-a-Drug, claims search, electronic ID cards, and DocFind, an electronic provider directory.

"We took a user-centered design approach with our mobile resources-meaning that we talked to the people who will actually use the resources as we built them to help inform what we ultimately offer," says Dan Brostek, head of member and consumer engagement for Aetna. "We know that our members-and consumers in general-are looking for personalization and convenience in their interactions with their health plan."

While Aetna offers a number of ways members can receive information about their health and health benefits, On-The-Go apps are an important part of Aetna's marketing strategy. According to Brostek, Aetna's business case was based in part on the "enormous popularity" of mobile Web browsing and texting.

"It made good business sense to pursue a multichannel mobile strategy for members that included mobile Web, apps and health-related texting," he says.

For instance, plan members can secure an appointment with a doctor, check the status of a claim or compare prescription prices from their mobile phones.

MOBILE APPS NOW THE STANDARD

Aetna first implemented health-related texting through its Medicaid plan in Delaware in 2006. Members with diabetes received text message reminders for their routine blood tests, and compliance rose from 52% to 70%.

The next phase of the Aetna On-The-Go rollout includes a free advanced application designed for smartphone users. Features include: the ability to show their electronic ID card horizontally; the ability to transfer a physician's contact information directly into their address books; and GPS provider searches including driving directions.