Online tools enable members to make better informed healthcare decisions
WASHINGTON, July 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumers nationwide can now locate a Blue doctor, hospital or urgent care center with the new Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder(SM) app for iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® devices launched by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA).
The free app, available to both members associated with any of the 39 independent Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® companies as well as non-members, allows users to locate services in their Blue network or other Blue contracted providers if they are traveling.
"Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have a strong commitment to providing members with useful information anywhere in the country," said Scott P. Serota, president and CEO of BCBSA. "With the new app, The Blues® are leveraging technology to put information literally in the hands of consumers so they can find healthcare providers when and where they need them most."
The app provides mobile access to numerous features included through the Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder available online at BCBS.com. Features in the app include the Urgent Care Finder, which helps consumers locate urgent care centers as an affordable and convenient alternative to emergency rooms. The Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder allows individuals to search by provider name or type of care they need. Users can also narrow their search by distance or language spoken (English or Spanish).
In addition, the app has search utilities that are customizable to an individual's needs. GPS navigation, an interactive map and driving directions make locating doctors and hospitals simple. Text and e-mail options allow information collected during a search to be shared and saved. The "click-to call" feature dials a phone number with one tap on the phone's screen, eliminating the need to memorize a new, unfamiliar phone number.
A version of the Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder app for Android™ smartphones will be available later this year.
The Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder app is the latest addition to efforts by the Blue System to give consumers the information they need, when they need it, to make the best decisions for their healthcare needs.
Other online and interactive tools from BCBSA include AskBlue®, an interactive online experience from BCBSA that educates consumers and helps them navigate and understand healthcare options. The AskBlue suite of tools, includes AskBlue, which launched in 2009 and explains insurance options; the award-winning AskBlue Healthcare Reform guide and AskBlue Medicare, which explains Medicare choices.
Earlier this year, BCBSA launched an online cost comparison tool. This tool provides greater transparency by shedding light on the costs for 59 of the most common, elective procedures for inpatient, outpatient and diagnostic services at specified area hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and free-standing radiology centers for inpatient, outpatient and diagnostic services.
The Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder and app, AskBlue and the online cost comparison tool are extensions of BCBSA's commitment to offering members 24/7 access to health information and services. With the launch of BCBSA's Facebook®, Twitter® and YouTube® sites in April, members and media can follow BCBSA to learn more about how the Blues work nationally and in communities, to improve the quality and safety of healthcare.
For more information about the Blue National Doctor & Hospital Finder app, visit bcbs.com/mobile. While the app is free, rates from your wireless provider may apply.
For more information on AskBlue, visit http://www.bcbs.com/innovations/askblue/.
To follow BCBSA on Twitter, visit http://twitter.com/#!/BCBSAssociation.
To follow on Facebook, visit http://www.facebook.com/BCBSAssociation.
To view videos and other sources, visit www.youtube.com/bluecrossblueshield.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 99 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association