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Insurer's App Aims to Lower Healthcare Costs, Securely

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, May 21, 2013

Once iTriage identifies the patient, based on group number and member ID, recommended care starts to tackle the cost side of the equation as well. The app will continually reinforce when care options are higher cost, out of network, or face challenging payment arrangements, says Peter Hudson, MD, co-founder and CEO of iTriage.

"What we've found is when we offer lower-cost care, right on that screen, the utilization of higher-cost care, emergency department care, goes down 40 percent, because you have this great, contextual approach to your provider service," Hudson says.

iTriage's founders have been attracting a lot of attention in high places. First Lady Michelle Obama asked them to join her during February's State of the Union speech.

"The most disruptive thing in the history of medicine is for the consumer to be engaged in the knowledge of medicine, the knowledge of treatment, understanding the ecosystem, having a better dialogue with their doctor," Hudson says. "I think it has the ability to be a blockbuster drug."

As if that weren't enough, iTriage will soon be able to check multiple symptoms. When a patient enters a symptom, such as lower abdominal pain, and then their gender and age, the most common medical conditions for lower abdominal pain for that patient profile show up right on the patient's mobile device.

The change will be all the more dramatic because iTriage leverages the power of cloud computing to render a response quickly. Most of the computation is not happening on the smartphone or tablet. It's happening in the cloud, on a cluster of powerful servers.

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2 comments on "Insurer's App Aims to Lower Healthcare Costs, Securely"


Deb (5/22/2013 at 1:57 PM)
Question, who, or what entity is in charge of determining what "care" options are offered? While the article states that patients "engaged in the knowledge of medicine, the knowledge of treatment, understanding the ecosystem" is important, I'd guess that "care" options presented will be limited by what someone else defines as appropriate - not by what a particular person may deem best for their health. It's hard enough for any practitioner to see beyond their world, something like this seems more likely to limit options than expand them. For example, for someone with what may be chronic gut issues, will the dat return the result of how simply changing one's diet (a very cost effective solution) can eliminate such distress. Or, will acupuncture or SCENAR be offered in the vast world of "pain management." Will mindfulness practices be recommended for stressors? Whatever data is loaded in is critical to allowing people to truly have a range of knowledge about the vast range of "medicines" available.

Dr P (5/22/2013 at 11:32 AM)
Patients can just go to the WebMD website and get their diagnosis. Nobody with a busy life and job would use this App...this is for the new generation of Obamabots who have no jobs and lay around doing nothing all day.