Following the consumerization trend, Anthem has released an app designed to give members easier physician access.
Patients today are expecting seamless digital experiences at their fingertips in every industry they interact with, including healthcare.
And Todd Johnson, SVP & GM, Ambulatory Care at GetWellNetwork, a digital consumer health tech company based in Bethesda, Maryland, doesn’t see this slowing down any time soon.
“There are many aspects of the healthcare journey that are confusing, especially when it comes to choosing a provider and ensuring coverage,” Johnson says. “The opportunity to use modern technology to engage with physicians is long overdue. Consumers will gravitate toward the path of least resistance. Most providers see accessibility as a key investment area.”
Recently, Anthem Inc. joined with consumer-focused digital care company K Health to launch a new app that will help consumers to text doctors for less than a copayment, schedule and pay for doctor’s visits through their smartphones, as well as show consumers how doctors diagnosed and treated patients with similar symptoms.
Anthem understands that convenience is a top priority for consumers and this initiative could provide a cost-effective and convenient access point for patients, according to Johnson.
“Furthermore, physicians could be attracted into their virtual network to reach more patients and scale their practices,” he says. “Navigating the healthcare landscape can be a daunting task, so patients will welcome the guidance, especially if it can simultaneously reduce costs. While I have no direct knowledge of the motivations behind this initiative, Anthem will begin to access a plethora of interesting symptomatic data and commentary from patients as well as interventions and outcomes from providers. That's a powerful set of data that could, over time, help them to steer consumers to the most cost-effective providers.”
In order to survive and thrive in the value-based era of care, organizations need to leverage technology to meet patients where they are along every step of their journey, according to Johnson.
“Creating an intuitive app to help people navigate their health plan with ease is another proof point that healthcare organizations are catching on to this trend and taking action,” he says. “What will be interesting to observe with Anthem's new initiative is consumer adoption. The party that has the ability to influence where patients seek care will be in a better position to control costs and outcomes. This entrance will put health systems on notice that they too need to be accessible and easy to interact with.”