We cover a lot of mobile healthcare technology and trends on Mobile Marketing Watch these days, but most has to do with new smartphone apps, mobile monitoring or more basic health and fitness applications. While most are excellent examples of what the future of mHealth holds, what about an example of an app from an already well-established healthcare player?
Humana, one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health benefits companies, introduced a number of smartphone applications beginning in early 2010 with the simple aim of improving member health and well-being and to “arm people with powerful tools at the point of service.” One of the company’s apps, MyHumana Mobile, was recently honored at this year’s OMMA Global Conference in San Francisco with a first-ever Appy Award for “Best Medical App.” Why did it earn this award above all the other mHealth apps on the market? According to Chris Nicholson, Humana’s Director of Strategic Communication, the answer is simple; “because the app meets consumer expectation in what an mHealth application should be.”
The free MyHumana app includes a number of features and a wealth of information for Humana members, including a mobile member information tool that shows users personalized details about their health plan on demand — including their Member ID number, group name and number, deductibles and copayments. Members can also check their claim status and details from within the app. MyHumana Mobile also leverages a users’ location to search for health care providers and to obtain provider credentials, affiliations, phone numbers, driving directions and maps. Members can also use the app to review drug prices and alternative drug options all of which they can discuss with their doctor. The app even includes a mobile spending account viewer which displays recent activity and current balance details for people using spending accounts, such as Health Savings Accounts.
Humana also provides these same features in a mobile web environment and sends SMS alerts to members such as health and wellness alerts — like flu-shot reminders. Since its launch in March of 2010, Humana has added new features and provided regular updates to bring more personalized resources — and will continue to do so as members continue to request additional features. MyHumana is available for iOS and Android devices. In addition to the MyHumana app, Humana also has health entertainment apps including Colorfall and GoldWalker, as well as the latest Humana Fit app that encourages healthy behaviors using social networking.
I had a chance to speak in-depth with Mr. Nicholson about the MyHumana app and Humana’s mobile initiatives in general. Below is the Q&A from that interview…
MMW: Why do you feel the MyHumana Mobile app won the Appy “Best Medical App” award beyond being one of the first of its kind?
Mr. Nicholson: “We built the MyHumana Mobile app with feedback from consumers in terms of what key features they wanted and what users felt was most needed in a mobile healthcare app. It came down to fundamental consumer need. We feel the recognition came from seeing something that was applicable to that consumer need and that demonstrated key baseline features from any health plan provider. It’s disappointing that most health plans haven’t gotten into the mobile space yet.”
MMW: As a healthcare payer, self-service on behalf of users is obviously important for efficiency and improved overall care – do you see mobile technology as a leading channel to promote this?
Mr. Nicholson: “Mobile is in the top two in terms of self-service at this point, with the Humana Website still being number one. We’re seeing that adoption is very quick, especially with those who are mobile savvy, and we expect that mobile will quickly overtake the Website for the simple reason that mobile is available for people when they want information the most. The member can use the tools when they’re at the physician’s office, when they’re at the pharmacy or in the car looking for an urgent care center for example. The mobile channel provides an instant link to information when there’s an immediate need.”
MMW: What levels of engagement have been identified with the MyHumana Mobile app so far?
Mr. Nicholson: “Humana is very metrics-driven in general and especially in terms of tracking activity in the contact space. We track everything from downloads, number of logins, registrations, pageloads, etc. We’ve identified that the three top features are claim summary, healthcare provider search and member information (including ID card, etc.). User satisfaction is an important metric as well. The MyHumana iOS app currently has a 4.5 star rating in the Apple App Store which is the result of listening to what users want and responding immediately with updates and new core feature additions.”
MMW: Do you see users being actively engaged over the long-term, or do you see spikes and plateaus in usage?
Mr Nicholson: “Our space is different than many industries such as retail, where users may actively engage consistently over the long-term. We see spikes in usage surrounding member events such as needing to go to the doctor, when they have a claim, when there’s money processed on their account, etc. Our engagement is more transaction and activity-based, which is a different model than most industries with mobile app offerings. Looking forward, we hope that different components related to mobile messaging will drive engagement in a different ways. Health-related rewards, for example, and leveraging synergies between other Humana mobile apps is on the road map.”
MMW: How many downloads have been recorded so far?
Mr. Nicholson: “We’ve seen over 30,000 total downloads over the last 12 months with exponential month-over-month growth rates during that period. We didn’t actively promote the existence of the app for the first 6 to 8 months while features were being built-out, and over the last 60-90 days, we’ve doubled our promotion of the app. We’re continuing to launch new features and updating components each and every month which drives continued engagement.”
MMW: What’s the breakdown between iOS users and Android users?
Mr. Nicholson: “We’ve seen roughly double the amount of downloads for iOS over Android, or about 20,000 on iOS and 10,000 on Android. Interestingly though, Android users are more active with our mobile web services, with higher utilization over iOS users. We predict much higher growth on the Android platform over iOS going forward. In terms of other platforms, we’ve slowed down development on Blackberry. Utilization is very low on the RIM platform and the development environment is more challenging. The mobile web capabilities can support members with any phone that has access to the web.”MMW: Do you have plans to introduce the app on other platforms?
Mr. Nicholson: “We’re keeping a close eye on the marketplace and looking at mobile web numbers first. Right now Windows Mobile only represents .42% of users, for example. We’ll respond to the market as it changes and evolves. We will keep an eye on the tablet marketplace too.”
MMW: What additional features are planned for the app?
Mr. Nicholson: “Future features fall into four categories; 1.) Health and wellness solutions that will integrate with Humana’s Vitality joint venture (which provides point balances differences, incentives, etc.) 2.) Biometric monitoring, particularly on the diabetes side. 3.) A continued push with pharmacy to integrate solutions and tools such as medication adherence and reminders using secure messaging (the latter of which being powered by mobileStorm’s recently introduced HIPAA-Compliant mobile messaging solution). 4.) Mobile tools to help our sales force.”
MMW: Why do you feel mobile healthcare innovation is so important?
Mr. Nicholson: “It all comes down to access. Mobile healthcare is so key because it gives members the information they need when they need it. The more relevant information available in real-time, the better.”
In this article
- Mobile Apps
- Mobile Devices
- Mobile News
- Mobile Software
- Appy Award
- Best Medical App
- health and fitness applications
- Health Savings Account
- healthcare applications
- healthcare payers
- healthcare providers
- mHealth applications
- mHealth apps
- Mobile Apps
- mobile healthcare
- mobile healthcare tech
- mobile healthcare technology
- myHumana Mobile
- OMMA Global
- smartphone applications
- smartphone apps
- windows mobile