Highmark launches iPhone app for members

Joining an ever-growing number of health plans looking to help their members access health information wherever they may roam, Highland has announced the launch of its Highmark Health@Hand iPhone application.

The app provides members with a host of features, including the ability to find the closest Highmark participating providers including hospitals, urgent care facilities, retail clinics and pharmacies.

"Mobile phone applications open up an entirely new channel for interaction with our members," said Matthew Childs, Highmark web strategy and development vice president. "It makes healthcare and wellness information more portable and accessible. We chose to focus our app on health and wellness because Highmark has a long-standing commitment to helping our members 'have a greater hand in their health.'"

In addition to plotting the nearest providers, the iPhone app provides interactive health tools that allow members to search for information about specific illnesses, symptoms and medical conditions. The app includes a health and wellness section that offers tips as well as wellness programs that are available to Highmark members.

The move to roll out a mobile application for its members comes amidst myriad changes occurring as a result of healthcare reform. According to E. David Hetz, cofounder and managing director of Cutlass Capital, a healthcare-focused venture capital firm, mobile applications can be an effective means of putting the responsibility of health and wellness back into the hands of consumers via easy access to healthcare information.

"If you have a solution that really works, gets hard dollars costs out and customers are your partners, it's a huge win-win," Hetz said earlier this year at the Health Technology Investment Forum.

To produce the app, Highmark partnered with A.D.A.M. as its technology vendor.

Mark Adams, president and CEO of A.D.A.M noted mobile applications are an important tool for getting health plan members as active participants in the effort to create a more efficient healthcare system.

"Our company is committed to building products that not only connect consumers to health information, but give them the tools to make better healthcare decisions, and the ability to connect to the healthcare resources that are right for them. With a new emphasis on transparency in healthcare, mHealth applications like Health@Hand are among those leading the way in connecting consumers, health plans and healthcare organizations," he said.

Like other payers that are looking to put more responsibility in the hands of its members for their own health, Highmark also has a number of online tools designed to engage visitors with its website. And it’s not just wellness discounts the company offers. Highmark member websites offer discounts ranging from deals at national hotel chains such as Fairmont and Westin to special offers from Reebok, Jenny Craig and even LasikPlus.

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