Aetna to launch CarePass for mobile in 2013

By: Jonah Comstock | Dec 3, 2012        

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IMG_1727 (640x480)Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini kicked off the mHealth Summit this morning by announcing a launch date for the mobile implementation of their health data syncing platform CarePass, which will combine Aetna’s recent mobile acquisitions and partners into a single offering.

CarePass has been available as a web platform, but Bertolini said it would go mobile in March 2013. The platform connects iTriage, the patient app Aetna acquired in December 2011, with a variety of fitness apps like Fitbit and MapMyFitness and food management apps like BetterLife and SparkPeople. It will also connect to Medicity’s iNexx health information exchange platform, which Aetna acquired in December 2010.

Like iNexx, CarePass has an open API and is available to third-party developers. Bertolini said the company has been hosting hackathons and codeathons to bring more apps onto the CarePass platform.

“This is not an Aetna propriety platform,” said Bertolini. “This is for everyone. Noble cause. Why not? It’ll make our economy healthier.”

New developer partners for Aetna include Earndit, FoodEssentials, and Personal.com.

Bertolini gave an example of how the platform might be used by a consumer. A person can look up a symptom on iTriage and discover what kind of specialist they need to see. They can then get a list of doctors who take their insurance in that specialty, and which of those doctors are good matches. (“Think of it as eHarmony for doctors,” Bertolini said.) From the app, a user can make an appointment with that doctor.

If the doctor needs to run lab tests, they can inform the patient of the results via a native messaging system, and can even send a prescription to both the patient and their pharmacist online.

Bertolini stressed that connecting data-gathering fitness apps is an important aspect, because of the “obesity pandemic” in the country. That data should help physicians treating patients dealing with weight issues. He listed Fitbit, fitsync, Goodchime, GYMPACT, MapMyFitness, Active, Runkeeper, and Strava on the fitness side, and food management apps Thryve, FatSecret, BetterLife, and SparkPeople. Bertolini listed medication adherence apps mHealthCoach and Pilljogger partners, too.

He also previewed a new fitness app, Passage, that takes users on virtual trips around the world while they work out. It was developed by Aetna in conjunction with Microsoft and is available in the Windows Store.

Bertolini said that CarePass is a part of Aetna’s strategy to reduce healthcare costs. He said that since the 70s, health insurers have been trying different strategies to reducing costs: managed care, purchasing providers, and making reimbursement burdensome for patients. None has been effective.

“The only way to make it work is to facilitate the relationship between patients and doctors, to get out of the way and let the system really work,” he said.

  • skeptic

    Self-serving blather. Good for Aetna to spread its tentacles; its all about control and lowering their cost of doing business. Medicity has offered an “open platform” for years and has zero 3rd party apps.

  • Russell Benaroya

    I think this one is a challenge. You can’t be a platform unless you’ve earned the trust to be a platform. And even if you think you’re a platform (because you have API’s) doesn’t really mean you’re a platform. More fundamentally, if Carepass is about end user value (not clear) then it’s an app. If it’s about third party value then it’s a platform. The problem is that there aren’t that many successful platforms at all (Windows? Amazon?). I’ll credit Charlie Kindel (http://ceklog.kindel.com) when he says, “First build something that consumers love and add the platform later.” Trying to do both is really, really challenging. At EveryMove (www.everymove.com), we’re about the consumer value proposition and building an application to meet that need first and foremost. If we earn the right to be a platform, that’s great; but everything we do is focused on a clear end consumer value proposition. It’s unclear to me that Carepass has that same maniacal consumer goal in mind.

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  • http://madebytyler.com/ Tyler Hayes

    The only way to make it work is to facilitate the relationship between patients and doctors, to get out of the way and let the system really work.

    A refreshing and welcome sentence to hear from someone involved so intimately with the health industry. I hope we see more of this in 2013 from all corners of the industry.

  • http://madebytyler.com/ Tyler Hayes

    Nailed it.

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  • steverist

    Yes, nailed it