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Anthem Creates a New mHealth Resource on Members’ Mobile Devices

In a partnership with American Well and Samsung, Anthem is giving its health plan members access to a 24/7 mHealth service for non-acute health issues through their mobile devices.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- The nation’s second largest payer is giving its member access to mHealth services from their mobile devices.

Anthem, which manages Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in more than a dozen states, is making its LiveHealth Online service available to health plan members on their Samsung Galaxy devices through the updated Samsung Health app. The site is powered by American Well technology.

“Anthem’s partnership with Samsung and American Well is one way we are investing in innovation and digital capabilities that will advance access to healthcare for consumers across the country,” Peter D. Haytaian, Anthem’s Executive Vice President and President of the Commercial and Specialty Business Division, said in a press release. “The healthcare needs of consumers are incredibly dynamic, and technology will continue to be the gateway to enable consumers broader choice of care to improve their health and wellbeing.”

Through the virtual care platform, members can “Ask an Expert,” consulting with healthcare providers on non-emergency medical needs such as colds, coughs, flu and allergies and receiving a diagnosis and possibly a prescription. They can also connect with specialists and seek information on health and wellness services like fitness training, maternity advice and sleep tracking.

Boston-based American Well, one of the giants in the telehealth vendor market, launched its partnership with Samsung two years ago. At the time, the company was looking to beef up its direct-to-consumer telehealth platform with access through mobile devices.

“Our partnership with Samsung will bring a new level of consumer reach, accessibility and ease of use to the healthcare industry,” Ido Schoenberg, American Well’s co-founder and chairman, said in a press release announcing the deal at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) 2017 conference and exhibition in Orlando. “This collaboration is the next major step in the evolution of integrated care delivery and will have a sweeping impact on the whole healthcare ecosystem, providers, payers and patients included.”

Samsung, meanwhile, launched a rebranded connected care program just last year, in an effort to bolster consumer access to healthcare through its mobile devices.

“Our goal with Samsung Health’s ‘Experts’ service is to provide users with ubiquitous access to leading healthcare providers and insurers quickly and cost effectively, right from the palm of their hands,” Nana Murugesan, Vice President and General Manager of Services and New Business at Samsung’s Californai-based Electronics America business, said in the release. “When we launched Experts just one year ago, our users were mostly using the service for everyday illnesses like the colds and coughs. Now our users are increasingly using the service for more advanced telehealth treatments such as the flu, high blood pressure and insomnia, as we expand our relationships with leaders in the healthcare industry.”

Anthem’s push to give its member more access to mHealth and telehealth services isn’t without its challenges.

Just this month, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) filed a lawsuit against the Indianapolis-based insurer for its policy in Georgia to retroactively review ER visits. The policy, now in effect in six states, allows the payer to reject reimbursement on visits that may be deemed unnecessary and which could have been handled via an mHealth app, telehealth visit or visit to a retail health clinic.


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