I don't own an iPad, so I rarely poke around the Apple app store to see what is new and exciting. The only exception is the last few weeks of the year, when I seek out the healthcare-related apps I would like to see arrive before the big holidays. The absolutely essential apps listed below have yet to show up, but with seven more shopping days before Christmas, you never know:
1. iCharge, Master!
Price: It really depends. But we don't think it's important to begin with.
Details: Tired of those pesky journalists asking for your price lists and wondering why your hospital is charging $250 for that bag of saline? This terrific app provides a convenient reason for your PR staff to justify any price on the chargemaster. My favorite: "Those bags contain imported Lebanese sea salt (infused with truffles)." Any other questions, smart-aleck?
Price: Getting a competitive product on the state insurance exchange.
Details: This app works well for health plan executives looking to trim their networks enough so they can sell a competitively-priced product for the first year of open enrollment on the exchange. Offers a variety of options: Narrow network. Ultra-narrow network, and keyhole. Third option may contain some animal hospitals. But hey, a hospital is a hospital!
Price: Getting those hospitals to accept that competitive product you offer on the state insurance exchange.
Details: This app is also for health insurance executives. It lines up a myriad of promotional products from online shopping destinations in order to make those shrunken, all-in-one payments you're offering to highly skilled surgeons more palatable--and still economical! A George Foreman grill or that imitation Swarovski pitcher may just be the tipping point to get their services. That's still a better payday than Medicaid, isn't it? (using this app in conjunction with iStark or iKickback highly recommended).
Price: Untold billions of dollars.*
Details: A great app for those statehouse leaders running out of rational reasons to leave federal dollars on the table and provide healthcare coverage for their poorest citizens. My favorite: Funds must be allocated first for the potential onset of the Rapture.
* Money ecstatically refunded in case of onset of the Rapture.
Price: We don't want your money!
Details: This final app for health insurance executives creates a moral justification for their objections whenever a hospital treating exchange enrollees decides to pay the premiums of any patient who falls behind on their bills. Since this app continues to be under development due to lack of any known moral justification, I will let everyone know when it may be available for download.
I wish everyone the happiest of holiday seasons. My next column will appear in 2014! - Ron (@FierceHealth)