Payers embrace mHealth

June 28, 2013 in Medical Technology

Consumer-facing mHealth solutions may be slow to find favor with physicians, but they’re popular in the payer market.

Two companies with feet firmly planted in the health plan landscape have recently unveiled new products designed to improve the relationship between insurers and consumers, and one of them is looking to make the jump to the provider market.

SundaySky, with offices in New York and Tel Aviv, Israel, touts its SmartVideo platform as ideal for companies looking to enhance consumer engagement and retention – such as insurers, who want a more dynamic means of explaining benefits, highlighting the differences in coverage, and illustrating compliance. Furthermore, the videos can be pushed out to consumers, reaching them where they’re located and allowing them to view the information in their own time and on their own choice of devices.

[See also: mHealth app market poised for big growth.]

Jim Dicso, SundaySky’s president, says the platform pulls in pre-recorded video generated from structured data, such as a questionnaire, and creates a real-time illustration of a specific topic. The resulting video – think of the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” – replaces written documents or guidelines and cuts down on phone calls.

“Video allows for a more confident message to be communicated more effectively,” he said, pointing out that they personalize what’s usually a generic process by fashioning a video based on the viewer profile.

Dicso said the payer market is the first point of entry for this type of product, but he expects providers to catch on and find value in passing along pre- and post-operative communications to patients.

[See also: Sparks fly on mHealth regs.]

Personalization is also at the root of Jiff’s new offering. The Jiff Platform, unveiled earlier this month by the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, is designed to enable health plans, large provider groups and self-insured employers to scale a health benefits platform that takes into account corporate benefits and consumer preferences for mobile devices.

“Employers are really looking for ease of contracting,” said Derek Newell, Jiff’s CEO. “It’s difficult for them to get a handle on the convergence of mobile sensing devices, the proliferation of applications … and this huge amount of innovation. They want to be able to manage that complexity.”

Officials say the Jiff Platform enables users to pick and choose their programs, apps and devices, while allowing managers to align those choices with company benefits and incentives and view, in a dashboard format, member participation. The platform also provides API guidelines and protocols for developers, and enables managers to shape their own surveys, polls and even competitions.

“Employers get alignment with outcomes and real time visibility, while employees get choices,” Newell said.

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