BlueCross and Blue Shield of Tennessee recently revealed that the insurer is giving members who own Apple Watches access to BCBST’s native AlwaysOn mobile app. AlwaysOn is a wellcare app for managing members’ health, including diet and exercise. The Apple Watch integration is part of a larger BCBST effort to make wellness management data from its patient portal available to users via mobile devices and wearables. The news came weeks after Aetna said it would help its members pay for an Apple Watch provided they use the wearable for wellness management.
Our take: for years, wearables have been perceived as a nascent technology, but the healthcare industry is helping wearables go mainstream as healthcare providers look for ways to shift the focus of healthcare from treatment to health maintenance. The Mayo Clinic recently announced an agreement with Gentag to develop wearable biosensors used to combat obesity and diabetes, and healthcare systems ranging from Massachusetts General Hospital to the VA are exploring how to use wearables to manage patient data and provide services.
Wearables are a natural fit for healthcare systems because of wearables’ monitoring abilities and also because wearables, when well designed, is a natural extension of a patient’s body. The Apple Watch, as it refines its own user experience, may be a big winner as wearables take hold — the Cleveland Clinic recently reported that the Apple Watch is the most accurate wearable for measuring one’s heart rate.
To understand how healthcare systems engage with patients, get to know wearables better. Contact SIM Partners to discuss how we can integrate devices such as wearables into your location-based patient retention strategy.