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Mobile Apps Help You Tap Into Better Health

December 09, 2016

If you visit doctors regularly or receive care for an ongoing condition, you know that keeping a handy record of all your information—the appointments, prescriptions, tests and procedures and all the insurance claims and records that go with them—can be a hassle.

But now, apps made for your smartphone or tablet can keep track of that information and have it available wherever you go.

“The major trend I see where mobile will help is the convenience it provides, says Dr. Michelle Longmire, CEO of Medable, a firm that provides platforms and security support for mobile app developers in the health care field. “There’s a real opportunity for them to be seen as a facilitator and a health and convenience advocate.”

Mobile devices have changed the role of health companies, giving them more ways to interact with consumers who want to stay healthier and avoid the headaches people associate with medical care.

Improving patient care and reducing costs

“Mobile apps become very helpful for both the healthy and those living with a chronic disease, because they provide data that consumers would never have otherwise,” Longmire says.

Always having your health care information handy provides convenience and a feeling of security. No matter what happens, your health care information is with you on your mobile. This can give doctors a quicker understanding of your health when needed.

Longmire says that insurance companies are starting to offer this technology as a way to make patient care better and as a way to reduce health care costs.

Improving convenience with mobile tools

So how are insurance companies using mobile apps? It’s all about self-service and making the health care system easier to use and navigate.

Some mobile apps, offers just about all the information you need, readily accessible in your pocket. You can find a doctor in your insurance plan’s network or the closet urgent-care facility—complete with phone number, location, maps and directions. And often when you register through the website, you’ll have access to your most updated medical and plan information.

Many apps include a digital ID card, and an inbox where your insurance company can leave important messages such as treatment reminders.

Keeping track of your prescriptions is also easier – apps can automatically connect with the pharmacy supplier’s app. You can see the strengths and dosages of your medications and also check drug prices, what your co-pay will be, and whether a medication can be delivered to your home or must be picked up in person. Apps can even remind you when it's time to order your next refill, and set reminders of when to take your medicine.

“Where mobile apps can be really helpful is giving the patient a pipeline for their information between the different steps in their health care journey,” Longmire says. “It’s beyond convenience. It’s optimizing health.”