Philadelphia insurer pilots Healthrageous

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 9, 2011        

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HealthrageousHealthrageous has partnered with Philadelphia-based health insurer Independence Blue Cross, IBC’s director of eBusiness Development Michael Yetter told attendees at the recent Insurance & Technology Executive Summit in Arizona. Healthrageous, which spun out of Partners Healthcare’s Center for Connected Health last year, offers a wellness platform that uses wireless-enabled fitness devices and apps to power team challenges among employee populations.

Yetter said IBC has begun testing Healthrageous in-house among its own employee population before it makes a decision to offer it to its health plan members. IBC offers HMO, PPO, Medicare, and Medicaid plans that cover 3.2 million members and processes some 22 million claims each year.

The insurer has already created a mobile site called IBX that helps members find doctors, verify referrals, compare the prices of medications, track spending, view health history, and apply for a temporary ID card. Future features may include health apps that encourage health eating and exercise, according to Yetter.

EMC, the first company to pilot Healthrageous (formerly and briefly called HopSkipConnect), reportedly became the startup’s first paying customer last fall. The company landed about $6 million in funding last year.

In December 2010 Healthrageous launched an iPhone app available direct to consumer via the Apple App Store. The app, called h!GO, aims to help users shed unhealthy habits and embrace healthy lifestyles. The app also aims to aid in the effective self-management of blood pressure and blood sugar. This mobile app is currently available to Healthrageous customers on devices including the iPhone, Android-based devices and Blackberry devices.

Last June Healthrageous CEO Rick Lee said that the company had no plans to get into “the hardware game” since it is not interested in tangling with the regulatory processes required by the FDA. While the startup’s primary customers have been employers and health plans, Lee said last summer that they wanted to be in the consumer space, too.

For more on the IBC deal, read the press release below or this article over at Insurance & Technology

PHILADELPHIA, Nov 7, 2011 — Independence Blue Cross announced that its director of e-Business, Michael B. Yetter, will speak today about mobile app marketing strategies in health care with other industry leaders at the Insurance & Technology Annual Executive Summit held in Carefree, Arizona.

“As we look into 2012 and beyond, there are technologies and concepts that play a significant role in shaping development of next-gen apps for our health plan members, including Mobile Health, which is better known as mHealth,” said Yetter. “‘Gamification’ is a growing trend in the mobile app industry, which is applying game design concepts and principles to mobile apps to further strengthen our member engagement. People like to be entertained, to compete, and to be rewarded. The more these principles are applied to mobile apps, the deeper the engagement with the consumer. IBC is exploring cutting edge ways to ‘gamify’ mobile app strategies already in place, and we will soon be piloting a new wellness engagement and competition program that we hope to offer more broadly next year.”

Another hot topic as the health care industry shifts toward more individual coverage is mobile payment systems, and Yetter will discuss next-gen ideas for individuals to pay their health plan bills with their phones.

“IBC made a strong entry into the mobile app space during 2011 and we plan to continue to innovate for our customers and members, using the latest technologies to provide the time-saving features and convenience that their lives demand,” Yetter added.

Yetter will discuss the mobile platform race between Apple iOS, Google Android, Blackberry, and Windows in phone devices and tablets. He will share his insights that, while some platforms may lose market share, there is no single winner currently emerging, and developers will continue to face complexity in building apps for several health care industry platforms.

The Insurance & Technology Executive Summit is an invitation-only event for senior-level insurance company executives. The conference presents relevant content, authoritative speakers, and networking opportunities for sponsors. The event is comprised of conference sessions, vendor meetings, and networking-focused social activities.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 73 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross’s HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit us at ibx.com. Fan us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter@ibx.

Contact: Karen Burnham 215-241-3106 Karen.Burnham@ibx.com

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, www.globenewswire.com

SOURCE: Independence Blue Cross