2013-07-03

An App To Let You Take Control Of Your Health Care Data

Instead of waiting for doctor visits, Aetna’s new CarePass app will correlate all your health data to try to give you a picture of your health and what you can do to make it better.

Much technological disruption to the health care industry has come from startups with an outside perspective: for example, ZocDoc, which has transformed the way people find new doctors; InQuicker, which lets people reserve a spot in line at an emergency room; Mango, which gamifies the routine chore of taking daily meds, and countless other new startups and apps that we’ve profiled (and tens of thousands more that we haven’t).

However, a new tech initiative at Aetna is an example of innovation and disruption from within. The company recently announced its plans to offer a health care app called CarePass which would help its customers monitor their own health care data.

MIT Technology Review reports:

Through CarePass, a person could enter a health goal—say, fitting into his jeans next month—and get personalized suggestions for how to go about achieving it. CarePass can integrate data from wearable tracking devices like Fitbit or Jawbone’s UP, as well as apps like MapMyRun; it can take into account doctor visits, prescriptions, and blood pressure or cholesterol records. It will also point users to trustworthy symptom and diagnosis information through iTriage, software that Aetna acquired last year.

The app will eventually push anonymous health care data to users’ employers so they can monitor overall trends. The idea is that more data can eventually lead to cost savings, at the level of the insurance companies but for employers and employees as well. Of course, turning the average worker into a bonified self-quantifier is a challenge (and figuring out how to act on that data is another). Employers are already incentivizing healthier behaviors like quitting smoking through financial incentives. Perhaps insurance companies can get policy-holders to voluntarily start using an app like CarePass by making premiums cheaper for them? If the social media age is any lesson, user data is currency (albeit, often a one-sided one). Health data should be no different.

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