HIMSS15: Payer tech plays to consumers' hands, wrists

Payers played a prominent role at the Health Information and Management System Society's annual conference in Chicago, with Humana CEO Bruce Broussard imploring the industry to "change perspective" to improve care and Alan Muney of Cigna calling for a connected, interoperable health system better suited to help at-risk patients.

The industry's largest health IT event also saw several product and partnership announcements from payers. While some focused on consumer tech--specifically, the forthcoming Apple Watch--others tackled the sometimes-thorny issue of data exchange. Here's a sampling of payer news from HIMSS15.

  • Health Care Services Corp. updated its Centered stress management app with support for Apple Watch, which goes on sale April 24. Apple Watch capabilities include push notifications that remind users to log their mood and "at-a-glance" illustrations of users' progress toward daily fitness or mindfulness goals, the insurer said.
  • Anthem and CareEvolution, meanwhile, announced an Apple Watch app called the comprehensive Family Health Record (cFHR). The app will connect Anthem members to their health care providers and provide relevant health and wellness notifications, the companies said.
  • Turning to partnerships, UnitedHealth has integrated its Health4Me mobile app with the Walgreens Balance Rewards program for its members in a pilot program in Arizona and Illinois. Members who complete activities such as exercise, healthy meals and sufficient sleep can redeem points in Walgreens stores.
  • Finally, Independence Blue Cross and the HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania outlined the progress of their health information exchange, which uses Direct messaging to share data within and between health systems. More than 5,000 physicians now participate and send roughly 6,000 messages per month, the organizations said in a statement.

For more:
- read the HCHS statement
- here's the Anthem-CareEvolution announcement
- here's the UnitedHealth-Walgreens announcement
- read the Independence Blue Cross statement

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HIMSS15: Humana's Bruce Broussard says industry must 'change perspective' to improve care