Mount Sinai launches new umbrella app, MountSinaiNY, for patients

By Heather Mack
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Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS) in New York announced yesterday the launch of MountSinaiNY, a new patient-facing app that the health system says will serve as an umbrella app for current and future patient-facing apps their team launches. Mount Sinai partnered with San Jose, CA-based LifeMap Solutions, a subsidiary of BioTime, to develop the app.

“This app serves anyone, anywhere,” Kumar Chatani, executive vice president and chief information officer at MSHS told MobiHealthNews via email. “We envision the MountSinaiNY app to be the gateway to all patient facing apps for Mount Sinai Health System customers.”

The MountSinaiNY app includes a number of in-app features that allow patients to find MSHS doctors and facility locations, to pay bills online, and to stay connected to the provider's news and social media feeds. The app also provides a helpful menu of other features available to patients who have also downloaded the health system's version of Epic's MyChart app, called MyMountSinaiChart. That app lets patients perform essential functions such as accessing their medical records, making appointments, and exchanging secure messages with providers.

Mount Sinai includes approximately 7,000 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Future updates to the app may include enhanced telemedicine, way finding, symptom tracking, deeper Epic electronic health record integration, and emergency management features.

The partnership between Mount Sinai and LifeMap has been evolving for the past two years. LifeMap was one of the few developers to participate in Apple’s ResearchKit launch, an open-source platform that helps researchers build medical apps and recruit patients for clinical trials. LifeMap has been working with Mount Sinai over the last couple of years to develop other mobile apps together, including the Asthma Health and COPD Navigator Apps.

As LifeMap CEO Corey Bridges put it to MobiHealthNews in an interview, the relationship isn’t one of “gun-for-hire” app developers working for Mount Sinai, but a fully integrated partnership. The company has onsite offices within the MSHS, staffed with scientists and medical researchers. “This is something we’ve been working towards for awhile,” he said.

Bridges, who was one of the Netflix’s earliest employees, worked toward the digital transformation of other industries before moving into healthcare.

“Healthcare is one of the last holdouts of the internet revolution, but now with the ubiquity of smartphones and the comfort of people trusting the security of the information in those phones," Bridge said. "The process of managing one’s health will move towards the phone.”

The app also represents a focus on developing a tool more patients will use, as many existing direct-to-consumer apps have shown that apps targeting specific conditions have poor utilization rates. While 66 of the largest 100 hospitals in the U.S. offer consumers mobile health apps, only 2 percent of patients are using them, according to Accenture. Part of that comes from apps having a poor UI or are for only targeting specific conditions.

“The reality is everyone is moving more towards living their lives through the screen of their phones,” Bridges said. “And that is going to include even the most mundane things like making doctor’s appointments.”