The Mayo Clinic and a California startup have created a new mobile health app featuring a telemedicine service offering a personal health assistant, who can prescribe limited drugs via the phone, and access to personalized health information, electronic medical records and an automated symptom checker on a 24 x 7 basis.
Better, developed by Palo Alto-based Better and Mayo, debuted last week in the Apple iTunes store and is available via a $49.99/month subscription. A free version does not include the personal health assistant access.
"Our culture of learning, innovation, and the desire to find answers has allowed Mayo to remain at the forefront of health and wellness, and we want to extend this expertise to people anywhere," explained Paul Limburg, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic Global Business Solutions, in an announcement. " We collaborated with and invested in Better to create a powerful way for people to connect with Mayo Clinic in their homes and communities, wherever they are."
The new app arrives as part of an increasing stream of mobile healthcare tools. Providers, payers, patients and caregivers are all seeking cost-effective health tools that also enhance medical care and treatment options. Early apps initially focused on fitness and basic vital signs monitoring and have expanded to faster body fluid testing to helping cardiac patients recover from surgery and those suffering with traumatic brain injury and Alzheimers.
The app reflects the industry's fast tech advancement and is one of the first incorporating a concierge aspect. Last year Doctor on Demand, an app providing video consultations with a doctor for a fee of $40, arrived on the market. A similar but online-only telemedicine psychiatry service went mobile last year.
The Better app/mHealth service, which was in beta with 1,000 users in the past few months, also provides access to Mayo Clinic nurses around the clock.
"Better simplifies your health care experience by providing uniquely tailored tools, customized articles, and Personal Health Assistants who manage the details, so you can spend more time improving your health," states the app description in the Apple App store.
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