M-health, Mobile Apps from the Payer Perspective

Scott Mace, January 29, 2013

Are healthcare payers ready to reimburse for m-health and mobile phone apps? This week, the conclusion of my healthcare-focused conversation at the International Consumer Electronics Show with Reed Tuckson, MD, UnitedHealthcare group executive vice president and chief of medical affairs.

HLM: What role do you think technology is going to play in mental health?

Tuckson: I think we are especially excited around the telepsychiatry services that are going on in mental health. We recognize the real issues of availability of supply, of trained mental health workers, and we clearly understand also the logistics of geography.

Telepsychiatry is really becoming an established, recognized field, and it is also encouraging that patients actually are not intimidated by not having a person in the room geographically and spatially with them, and seem to respond well to the technology.

HLM: So you've been reimbursing for it widely for a long time.

Tuckson: Yeah, just as we have been reimbursing for synchronous video communication on the clinical side. We reimburse the same for synchronous video on the clinical side as we do for whether you were spatially in the room.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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