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Physicians Plus Insurance Drives Healthcare Engagement with Smartphone App

PPlus has adopted RxEOB’s emWellics mobile platform on the rationale that providing members with tools that fit their mobile-influenced lifestyle will help them to be more engaged in their healthcare and more supported in their personal health maintenance.

Patients more involved in their healthcare do better, which improves their lives, enables clinicians to do their jobs better and also reduces costs. Physicians Plus Insurance Company (PPlus; Madison, Wisc.) saw the potential for mobile technology to promote greater patient engagement through its implementation of RxEOB’s (Richmond, Va) emWellics mobile platform, which the insurer believes will pay for itself within a year.

Using RxEOB’s technology, PPlus has launched its RxManager proprietary smartphone app branded by the carrier and available for Apple and Android operating systems. The app lets members with PPlus pharmacy benefits access personal pharmacy claims, formulary and benefit information that is integrated into a database connected to the health plan’s Web portal.

Bill Reay
Bill Reay, Physicians Plus
“Giving our members access anytime and anywhere to their personal pharmacy benefit options is essential for improving care, promoting compliance, getting members engage in their daily health — and saving money,” comments William A. Reay, senor director and chief pharmacy officer, PPlus. “We recognize that our members use mobile applications every day, so giving them the option to download RxManager from our Web site or from app stores will help anyone who wants to take charge of their healthcare, from finding drug savings information to preparing questions for an upcoming doctor’s appointment.”

The RxManager app offers PPlus members several personalized modules aimed at accelerating their health commitment and wellness goals, according to the insurer. The app’s personal medications module offers access to historical pharmacy claim information, allowing members to provide accurate information to providers. The app gives members access to other information to foster engagement, including:

- potential savings on generic and therapeutic drug substitutions;

- possible side-effects and drug interactions;

- in-network pharmacy locations;

- a physician appointment preparation tool;

- a personal biometric health tracker log;

- an ID card module; and

- personal messaging regarding health and wellness maintenance.

PPlus investment in the emWellics-driven smartphone app is in the “low five figures, so far,” relates Steve Sorenson, PPlus’ director of marketing and product innovation. The carrier expects the app to pay for itself within a year of its being available to customers. Sorenson says that a couple of factors have helped with the successful implementation of RxManager. “For one, we had previous experience with another party in the development and placement of mobile apps in iTunes and Google Play,” he says. “Perhaps more importantly, we have had a relationship with a pharmacy administrative system and ompany that had developed Internet tools for us in the past and had the capabilities to bring movile versions of those tools and more to the market.”

[For more on insurers' mobile strategies, see Insurers Look to Streamline Mobile App Development .]

PPlus is currently in the early launch phase of the application but projects that the in-app messaging and recording of drugs taken versus drugs prescribed will help with medication adherence, and that the drug-to-drug interactions, as well as the office visit prep portion of the RxManager will lead to better dialogue during regular office visits, according to Sorenson.

“From the consumer perspective, we hope the tools we provide will make their engagement in their health less intimidating, and their interactions with medical providers more productive,” Sorenson says.

Sorenson says that the app’s reminder to fill and refill maintenance medications should help with medication adherence. He adds that intelligent queuing of questions for office visits, immunization records, and diagnosed condition details at the user’s fingertips should fill in the gaps of many existing patient record systems and ensure greater engagement.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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