This week health insurance company UnitedHealthcare launched a new mobile health app, Health4Me, that gives its employer plan customers access to a registered nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The app is currently only available for Apple iPhone or iPad users, but United plans to launch an Android version of the app this spring.
Health4Me is a free app that also helps users to locate nearby physicians, hospitals, and other medical facilities that are in their network. The app also gives users access to their personal health benefits information. The app also aims to streamline customer service questions for users by providing an "Easy Connect" feature that lets users select the type of question they have about their claims or benefits to receive a call back from a United customer service rep.
"Health4Me makes navigating health care easier for our 26 million plan participants and puts key information, including health and wellness tools, right in the palms of their hands," Jeff Alter, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual, stated in a press release. "Today's technology allows consumers to do more with their mobile devices, and Health4Me enables them to manage their health and interact with UnitedHealthcare in a way that is convenient for them."
GreatCall's Jitterbug mobile phone service for seniors launched a similar service for its users in early 2010, called Live Nurse. Jitterbug signed up 12,000 users in the first few months since the service launched during which is averaged about 4,000 calls per month. The majority of early adopters often called to better determine whether they should visit their physician or an emergency room. About half of those who called in with plans to visit their doc or ER decided the Live Nurse call answered their question and that they no longer planned an immediate visit. (This is similar to the thinking behind the UK government's recent call for general practitioners to prescribe mobile health apps.)
For more on UnitedHealthcare's Health4Me launch, read the full press release below:
PRESS RELEASE: MINNETONKA, Minn., Feb 27, 2012 -- UnitedHealthcare is making it easier for its plan participants to take greater control of their health through a new mobile app, Health4Me. Now available for the Apple iPhone and iPad -- and coming to the Android this spring -- Health4Me brings important health information for people on the go.
The free mobile app provides millions of UnitedHealthcare employer plan participants 24/7 access to a registered nurse, enables them to locate a nearby in-network physician, hospital or other medical facility, and gives access to their personal health benefits information. An "Easy Connect" feature lets users select the type of questions they have about their claims and benefits, and request a callback on their mobile device from a UnitedHealthcare customer service representative.
The app is available on Apple's iTunes App Store as a free download for iPhones and other Apple devices such as iPads supporting iPhone apps.
"Health4Me makes navigating health care easier for our 26 million plan participants and puts key information, including health and wellness tools, right in the palms of their hands," said Jeff Alter, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual. "Today's technology allows consumers to do more with their mobile devices, and Health4Me enables them to manage their health and interact with UnitedHealthcare in a way that is convenient for them."
Health4Me features enable users to:
-- Download their health plan ID card to their smartphone, and email or fax the ID card directly from the mobile device to the plan participant's physician office or hospital.
-- Save their favorite care providers within the UnitedHealthcare network, and record personal notes from each visit to that doctor, under the "Favorites" tab.
-- Locate nearby physicians, hospitals, emergency rooms and urgent care centers using the smartphone's GPS functionality, making it easier for consumers to find care providers when they are out of town.
-- Request a callback from UnitedHealthcare using the "Easy Connect" feature to address any questions about claims and benefits.
-- Contact a registered nurse 24/7 for information regarding any kind of medical topic.
-- View information on a plan participant's status of deductible and out-of-pocket spending, and check account balances for health reimbursement, flexible spending and health savings accounts.
Health4Me is the latest in a series of UnitedHealthcare technology advancements designed to simplify and enhance a consumer's health care experience. For more information about Health4Me, or UnitedHealthcare's other products and services, visit www.uhc.com or follow @myUHC on Twitter.
About UnitedHealthcare UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group UNH +0.13% , a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.