Banner, Aetna build mobile tech into ACO program

Health insurer Aetna and Phoenix-based hospital network Banner Health are digging deep into the technology toolbox to boost their evolving accountable care organization partnership.

Seeking ways to reduce costs but improve outcomes, the two groups are building a hefty "technology stack" into the ACO system, and improve physician-patient coordination of care, company officials say.

The partners are installing an across-the-board health information exchange to allow clinicians two-way access--that is, read and input--to the core electronic medical record. Seventeen of Banner's 23 hospitals recently were announced as HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 Award winners.

On the mobile side, they're also installing iTriage to allow patients to pre-register for appointments via smartphone, company officials say. It may be one of the first ACO deployments of the technology since Aetna purchased the company last year.

No word yet on whether smartphone access will be expanded to include EMR- and other network access, however. But it may be the next step, as iTriage has been integrated into Aetna's CarePass platform, which allows patients access to multiple Aetna applications from one central access point.

To learn more:
- read the Aetna/Banner announcement
- here's the HIMSS announcement