Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CEO Keynoter at mHealth Summit

Aetna CEO, President, and Chairman Mark Bertolini delivered one of the keynote addresses at the 2012 mHealth Summit at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center held in the Washington D.C. area. He said “Healthcare organizations must provide simplified connected care to get patients involved in their own health issues.”

He told the attendees, “With patient engagement, the end result will be a reduction in wasteful spending in healthcare. Today, over $750 billion is wasted in a $2.7 trillion healthcare system according to an IOM study. We can no longer use the carrot-and-stick approach to reduce costs since what we really need is a simplified healthcare system so that the system really works.”

Bertolini has professional experience in the healthcare field, has experienced his own health problems, plus he has had to deal with his son’s difficult cancer case. He had to act not only as an advocate for his own care but also for his son’s care. According to Bertolini, when confronted with complex medical and healthcare tasks, technology is an important part of the solution.

He explained how shoppers today have readily available information at their finger tips. For instance if you go to a store and the product is not available, you can use your mobile phone to access where the product may be found, if the product is in stock, plus information on colors and  sizes. As he said, “We need this type of efficiency in our healthcare system and this can only be achieved with a workable and connected system.

The problem is that today there are so many apps available and it can be confusing for the user. To meet these needs, Aetna currently has 20 popular health and fitness apps to help patients to manage their care and easily connect with their providers. As Bertolini explained, “Aetna thought it would be good if everyone could use their favorite apps but also at the same time, have the data integrated into one location that is secure and under your control.

Bertolini mentioned how a new mobile app called “iTriage” was created by a couple of ER doctors. The app offers a symptom navigator that helps users locate nearby health facilities, download test results, and find physicians to help with their particular symptom or health issue. He continued to say that he thinks of “iTriage” as e-Harmony for finding doctors.

Today, the CarePass® platform at integrates with Medicity, a health information exchange. The platform joins data that comes from your apps and makes it possible to have a free secure, one-stop health and wellness destination. CarePass makes it possible to share information from many apps, get care, but also makes it possible to earn rewards. Eight new partners have recently been added to the CarePass platform.

Aetna is reaching out to the fitness world to reduce the obesity pandemic in the U.S. Aetna  recently introduced their new “Passage” app to bring fitness workouts into the virtual world to help people fight obesity and stay fit.

As Bertolini explained, “The “Passage” app takes the boredom out of exercising by virtually presenting photos of places in the world to travel. This means that while exercising, people can look at the photos, think of being in those locations, and set goals for their future travel experiences. The result will be that people will want to stay healthier and work harder to meet their fitness and nutritional goals.