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Personal health records haven't been all that popular with either consumers or their physicians. ActiveHealth Management is hoping to improve that trend by making the PHR more mobile and adding access to more information, including clinical data and information on home healthcare providers.
The Aetna subsidiary recently announced that members of its MyActiveHealth PHR website can now access information through the iTriage mobile and web app. Company officials report that more than 4 million people have PHRs on MyActiveHealth, while more than 7.5 million have downloaded the iTriage app.
"It's not a silver bullet, but it is a step in the journey," says Rich Noffsinger, CEO and president of ActiveHealth. PHRs, he says, will only increase in value to the consumer "if they make the right information available to them when and where they need it."
Noffsinger says ActiveHealth members can now have access to their PHR from any location – in the doctor's office, perhaps, when they need to look up their medical records, or away from home or on vacation, when they need to use iTriage to locate the nearest healthcare provider. The idea, he says, is to give members instant and mobile access to the information they need to make informed healthcare decisions – and in turn giving providers a more educated, informed patient with which to communicate.
Founded in 1998 and headquartered in New York, ActiveHealth Management is an independent subsidiary of Aetna, with more than 22 million members enrolled in its programs. The company's programs, based on its CareEngine, system, are designed to help health plans, employers, health systems, providers and government payers reduce medical costs through more active management and health and wellness tips.
Aetna acquired Healthagen, the Denver-based mobile health startup that created the iTriage app, last year. In 2010, the insurer acquired health information exchange vendor Medicity.
Noffsinger says Medicity is "laying the groundwork" to make appropriate clinical information available on MyActiveHealth, giving members access to more data.
"Clinical information is one of the key areas for us, one of the areas where we're doing a lot of work," he says, citing lab results, prescriptions and medication history as three types of information that could be made available in the future.
While iTriage is available publicly, access to PHRs through MyActiveHealth is restricted to those enrolled in ActiveHealth programs.
Noffsinger says the use of mobile devices to access PHR information "is still in the early stages of an evolutionary process," but figures to gain steam as more silos of information are made available to the user. That would include data drawn from portable medical devices, ranging from mobile sensors worn on the body to home-based systems.
In related news, iTriage officials announced that the company's database now includes 12,444 home healthcare providers, enabling users to search by zip code to locate physical, speech and occupational therapists, among other types of providers.
“To mature into one of the most complete sources for healthcare search in the market, we’ve expanded the iTriage provider database to new areas of care,” said Peter Hudson, MD, CEO and co-founder of iTriage, in a press release. “Providing more post acute-care provider listings helps the growing numbers of aging adults and their caregivers with long-term care needs, all from the convenience of a mobile device.”
The home healthcare industry, estimated at more than $70 billion in 2010 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has been cited by the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI) as a factor in reducing hospital readmissions, improving patient outcomes, increasing patient satisfaction and reducing healthcare costs. AHHQI officials have said home healthcare can save a Medicare patient more than $6,000 per episode when compared with institutional costs.
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