Cigna, Samsung to bring health, wellness to mobile devices

Global health service company Cigna and mobile device manufacturer Samsung have signed a multi-year agreement to co-develop health and wellness related features built into Samsung's S Health platform on the company's major smart mobile devices, according to an announcement

"The initial development is focused on delivering health-related tips and articles through the Samsung S Health Application, with an ultimate goal of connecting individuals with caregivers, doctors and hospitals to improve health and wellness globally," the announcement states. "Cigna content is incorporated into Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in select countries, including United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain beginning in October 2013. Over the next year, additional co-developed functions and features will find their way to Samsung's mobile devices worldwide."

S Health is a Samsung platform designed to collect and integrate health information for consumers from smartphones and personal health devices. The app aims to "provide easy to use features in a mobile dashboard to help make health improvement an engaging part of everyday life."

In August, Samsung launched a health app designed for its Android-based Galaxy S4 smartphone that features an avatar that grows fatter or thinner with the user. Called the S Health Buddy app, it allows users to choose from five different characters--two female, two male and one animal--that act as avatars of the user as he or she eats and exercises.

The app, which is free on the Google Play Store and currently only available in Samsung's home market of Korea, calculates how the user is doing in terms of calories based on recorded food intake, hours of exercise, and the user's initial input of height and weight. Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphone, designed to compete with Apple's iPhone 5, has gotten the attention of research firm Frost & Sullivan for "transforming the mobile device into a health monitoring tool" with an updated version of the S Health app and its built-in pedometer to track steps and deliver food nutrition information.

In September, Cigna and MyFitnessPal, the free personal health and fitness resource, announced a new initiative that will combine MyFitnessPal's nutrition, physical activity and weight management resource with Cigna's health coaching programs. The strategic venture is MyFitnessPal's first formal expansion into the insurance and healthcare industry. This initiative will give customers the ability to choose to connect their MyFitnessPal accounts with their coach to share their diet and exercise activity. Coaches will be able to view a participating user's progress and provide advice, motivational support and encouragement, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the announcement