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Health Insurer Looks to Replace Laptops with iPads

Freedom Health has selected a mobile sales application with a stated goal to reduce laptop and paper use.

PCs are falling out of favor with consumers who are turning more to large-form mobile devices, and the same may be true for some insurers.

Freedom Health, a provider of Medicare and Medicaid plans in Florida, has selected a mobile enterprise application platform from Vancouver-based Flowfinity Wireless with the goal of reducing the use of paper and laptops in its sales process.

Flowfinity will be used to create a mobile solution that can replace existing sales forms and support entire business processes on mobile devices with minimal programming. It also can capture data offline, including signatures and photos, and can support for offline lookups of data such as doctor or prospect contact information.

"We evaluated a number of enterprise mobility solutions, but Flowfinity was the only solution that met our requirements for offline data capture, integration, and ease of configuration," says Kevin Adhia, Vice President of Information Systems, Freedom Health. "Flowfinity enabled us to build a complex mobile information system, customized specifically for our business, in just two weeks."

It's not just iPads that are gaining favor. A life insurance company in Japan recently made a large purchase of Windows tablets for its sales force. It's clear that the preferred form factor for insurance professionals is changing.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
10/22/2013 | 8:06:54 PM
re: Health Insurer Looks to Replace Laptops with iPads
The price of the laptop relative to its computing power as compared to a laptop is a real thing. I'm pretty sure my ipad is powerful enough for me to do everything I need to do Gă÷ but until the user interface is perfected, I'll still have to use a laptop that's three times the cost.
Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
10/22/2013 | 8:05:31 PM
re: Health Insurer Looks to Replace Laptops with iPads
And of course, what's still being figured out by both tablet manufacturers and insurers is how to manage content creation in the tablet form factor. It's a little more difficult and not as intuitive to type on a flat screen, and stylus/handwriting recognition isn't very popular or reliable. I anticipate we'll see more market entrants like Flowfinity that aim to bridge that gap and make tablets the ideal data-entry platform for field workers.
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/21/2013 | 10:43:02 AM
re: Health Insurer Looks to Replace Laptops with iPads
It's not just insurance companies who are doing this. At the InformationWeek CIO Summit a few weeks ago, the CTO of the New York City Department of Transportation (Cordell Schachter), said that they are issuing tablets instead of Toughbooks now.

Why? Toughbooks are expensive and not always easy to use when out in the field (a user needs a flat surface to set it up). Also, the Dept can buy 3 or 4 tablets for the price of 1 toughbook and even if 3 of the 4 tablets are dropped and broken, the DOT is still ahead of the game (in terms of cost). The DOT isn't seeing that many broken tablets, BTW.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/18/2013 | 2:46:08 PM
re: Health Insurer Looks to Replace Laptops with iPads
Good point, Bryan, although actually insurers have been pretty aggressive users of laptops in the field for agents/producers and for claims adjusters. Back 15-20 years ago this was an enabling technology that played a big role in automating key processes such as the insurance application submission process and of course claims adjusting/processing. But I think it was underestimated at the time that laptops were relatively heavy and cumbersome and so not an ideal solution. Tablets are perfect, especially as they have better graphics and are easier to navigate.
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
10/18/2013 | 12:31:17 PM
re: Health Insurer Looks to Replace Laptops with iPads
This makes sense, because, unlike laptops, insurance professionals can bring tablet devices out into the field, take pictures with them, etc, they are a lot more versatile on the go.
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