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Thirteen healthcare apps to watch


Managed Healthcare Executive asked industry experts to share their favorite mobile apps for healthcare. Here’s 13 of their top picks.


Managed Healthcare Executive asked industry experts to share their favorite mobile apps for healthcare. Here’s 13 of their top picks.



Instead of a patients filling out patient registration forms on a clipboard the first time they see their healthcare provider, they can virtually fill out the forms, which saves time at every doctor’s appointment.                      

“Getting accurate information on immunization history and medical history is often difficult because these forms are filled out quickly and without documentation in the provider’s office,” Don Hall, a Managed Healthcare Executive editorial advisor and principal, Delta Sigma LLC, says. “With YOSI, the information can be pre-collected and entered into the app. The same information would then be provided to every provider.”




My Care (Group Health Cooperative)

Today, the majority of managed care organizations have successfully deployed applications with features that are now considered table stakes, such as the ability to find a provider, view your ID card and review coverage plans, according to Adam Nelson, vice president, Healthcare & Life Sciences, NTT DATA.

“However, in order to engage and develop daily active users, these applications must become more interactional versus transactional,” he says. “One potential next step is for managed care organizations to deploy procedure pricing on an app rather than just the organization’s website. Additionally, to increase interactions and user satisfaction, incorporating mHealth, such as mobile chat, could provide a breakthrough for managed care applications.”

One favorite app of Nelson’s that is making strides to implement value-added features that create returning users is My Care (Group Health Cooperative).

“Members can schedule appointments, check wait times and receive directions through the app, which enables additional provider interaction.”

In addition, a user can call a 24/7 phone number through the app to check on their symptoms. Some future features that will benefit the users include the ability to update personal information and share with providers to eliminate duplicative, repetitive paperwork or connect with an online community to share symptoms, treatment and dietary regimens based on specific conditions.

“By creating an informational resource, managed care organizations can move beyond a transactional exchange toward an interactional app that increases user engagement,” Nelson says.



Good Rx

This prescription pricing app is another app to watch, “because it provides pricing information while also taking into account the proximity of retail pharmacy stores, potentially saving users money by driving one or two blocks further than planned,” says Nelson.




Rite Aid

Rite Aid has begun to advance its app beyond simple medication reminders, according to Nelson.

“By integrating their app with other store programs, they are attempting to gain repeat users who visit for many reasons based on various features rather than just one resource,” he says.

“Managed care … needs to develop features that encourage continued use,” Nelson continues. “Some organizations have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of members and potential users who should be downloading and using an app, but they must first develop features that are useful, motivating and relevant.”





BlueStar, AdventiaP3, The Happy MD

Rick W. Finch, partner, National Institute of Collaborative Healthcare, says his favorite apps: (1) lead to preventive measures of some sort and (2) lead to showing a clinically related outcome.

“For example, did the patients risk factors within different disease states diminish based on biometrics, advanced clinical protocols, adherence to guidelines, etc.?,” he asks. “Is this information seamlessly communicated/aggregated? And preferably, is the data interfaced directly through the EHR to cut down on human error? Ultimately, we have to make sure this great information we are providing goes beyond consumer awareness and becomes utilized into clinical treatments. And once we go beyond treating, to preventing, then, that’s when we’ll start to reap the true benefits of healthcare apps.”

Finch’s picks are: 

AdventiaP3. An electronic health record overlay that uses the most advanced laboratory and diagnostic technology to produce a clinical care plan for the provider (inclusive of pharmaceutical, exercise and dietary recommendations) that naturally leads the patient toward documented preventive measures and outcomes data aggregation. 

BlueStar diabetes management app (WellDoc). This is prescribed by a healthcare provider and gives adults with type 2 diabetes a daily guided plan on their smart phone or computer to help manage diabetes.

The Happy MD. Contains a number of resources and tools focused on reducing physician burn-out.






Docphin, Figure-1, Patient IO

Hundreds of thousands of health and medical apps are available in the market, with nearly two-thirds focused on general wellness, according to John Santilli, partner, Access Market Intelligence and National Institute of Collaborative Healthcare.

As the market for mobile apps continues to grow, we are moving beyond apps for consumers alone and seeing an increase in the apps that help guide physicians and clinicians to better meet their specific needs,” he says.

These include: 

Docphin. Delivers tailored content to clinicians that include the latest research and discussion pertinent to their specialties. 

Figure-1. Enables physicians to share images and pictures of medical cases for purposes of education and collaboration. 

Patient IO. Enables clinicians to program daily tasks for patients based on their treatment plans, tracks which they follow and shares the information with their care team. 






Amino makes it easy to find the doctors who have the most experience with a patient’s needs.

“It’s super simple to use, with no instructions required,” David A. Reid, founder and CEO, EaseCentral, says. “Amino provides great information for providers, what they charge-that is unique-and how to book an appointment.”






This app isn’t just for social purposes, it can also be used as a tool to learn more about the healthcare industry. 

“I use this app during my commuting time to follow the Tweets of our member safety net plans and then retweet them to our @safetynetplans followers,” says Margaret Murray, Managed Healthcare Executive editorial advisor and chief executive officer, Association for Community Affiliated Plans.

“Plans Tweet about employee recognition ceremonies, new care management programs, public health messages, and their upcoming health fairs. Some of our members Tweet regularly in support of Medicaid expansion or other policy items. It is a great tool to keep up with what is going on in our industry.”




Alme Health Coach

Next IT’s Alme Health Coach, the first artificially intelligent “virtual health assistant” built for the management of chronic diseases, is now planning to focus on diabetes.

“We have watched this illness expand from less than one percent of the population during my training years to now nearly 10% and estimates that it will affect one in three in the next several decades with little evidence that it is slowing down,” says Thomas Morrow, MD, independent consultant/advisor to digital health start ups.  “Until the recent development of digital assistants and various connected wearables, I saw little chance of reversing these dire predictions.

“In the very near future, innovative healthcare companies can provide to each of their members at risk not only the CDC-proven diabetes prevention program to prevent diabetes, but with little investment develop highly intelligent, natural language driven ‘virtual health assistants’ [VHAs] or diabetes ‘bots,’” Morrow adds. “Think of Siri for diabetes.”

These VHAs can use all of the traditional health behavioral theories and motivational interviewing to help people change their lifestyle and start to reverse the metabolic condition that puts them at risk, according to Morrow.

“By combining the power of large data bases, integration into [EHRs] and PBM data, artificial intelligence and natural language understanding, insurers and ACOs can create a customized, white labeled, personal, engaging ‘avatar’ to literally coach their members through this condition,” he says. “By integrating the agents with activity tracking, sleep monitoring and scheduled reminders as well as programed adult education on the value of proper nutrition, exercise and minimal weight loss, I can now envision a time where we can start to reverse this disastrous pathway.”


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