Health care is shifting from simply providing services to also including a focus on maintaining patient wellness with proactive care. The goal is to prevent sick patients from requiring acute services, and incorporating incentives for providers that realign the emphasis on fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement based upon performance.   

This shift has prompted an immediate and deliberate interest from provider and employers alike to encourage more responsible choices in care. Helping plan members understand when they need to act, outlining optimal choices, directing them to proper care settings and engaging them in their care are all critical elements, especially for the new mHealth-enabled consumer.

What brokers need to know about mHealth

mHealth — the use of mobile technology devices and smartphones for health care purposes — is transforming health care as more Americans adopt mobile devices. Smartphone apps are an innovative way to improve adherence and patient behavior because they are constantly accessible, engage and educate patients, and provide a repository for patient- and medication-specific information.

Brokers can serve as catalyst for change in this new environment, acting as proponents of mobile technology platforms that feature smartphone apps and online tools that are designed to empower plan members to make better use of their medical and prescription benefits.

With the rise in high deductible plans, more consumers will be incentivized to use pharmacy-specific tools and platform applications to help understand and manage the potentially high retail expenses from prescription drugs.

mHealth platform benefits

A single-source mobile technology platform can influence a plan member’s access to information, help improve individual member behaviors, and lower rates by improving overall workforce health and productivity.

The goals are to streamline the flow of information between health plans, providers and patients, facilitate one-on-one exchanges that close gaps in care, shorten medical response times and improve the overall health care system.

Mobile technology features enable health plans and pharmacy benefit managers to interact with members and providers anywhere they have their mobile phones — whether it’s at the point-of-care, pharmacy or dinner table — and at any time of the day. A mobile application suite should offer a completely configurable approach to placing mobile decision-support tools into the hands of members and patients: medication history and drug look-up, drug savings calculations and plan benefit options, personalized messages, biometric trackers and physician office visit preparation application, to name a few.

A thoughtful and engaging mobile-access and mobile-platform technology strategy can greatly simplify the management of chronic diseases and reduce the cost burden of unhealthy lifestyles and aging populations. What’s more, brokers who advocate a mobile technology platform to clients can gain the competitive edge they’ve been looking for.   

Oscar, R.Ph., is president and CEO of RxEOB. Reach him at

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