Samsung and Cigna have announced a multi-year partnership to develop health and wellness related features on Samsung's S Health app, which comes with Samsung Galaxy SIII and S4.
S Health already offers users manual-entry tracking features for food, sleep, and blood glucose and integration from third party devices. With the launch of Galaxy S4, all these features were enhanced because of the mobile device's built-in activity tracker, and ambient temperature and humidity sensors.
The first iteration of the partnership will deliver health-related tips and articles via S Health, which Cigna already offers its customer base. Eventually, the companies plan to connect patients to doctors and hospitals. Samsung had been working towards the second half of the partnership -- providing electronic connectivity for patients and doctors -- for a while, Cigna Spokesman Joseph Mondy told MobiHealthNews, and asked Cigna to help them deliver that platform.
"We're very much engaged in trying to deliver health improvement capabilities that engage folks where they are, and where they are is on mobile devices," Mondy said. "We looked to partner with a global leader in mobile devices to work with to deliver some of our health [related] capabilities."
While he said Cigna spoke with many companies about the partnership, they eventually chose Samsung because the companies already had "a good rapport".
Content from the partnership will be incorporated into the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain beginning this month, and will eventually expand into other mobile devices within the next year. Mundy also teased new features coming to the device starting in 2014.
In August, Samsung launched another S Health feature, called S Health Buddy, just for its Korean audience. The app features a cartoon avatar who loses weight along with the user. At the time Samsung said they had no plans of introducing S Health Buddy to its American audience, but they did plan to launch their long awaited heart rate monitoring chest strap and a connected weight scale before the end of the year.
As of August, Samsung's other health tracker, the S Band, had no expected launch date.
Cigna announced in May that they plan to look to more digital health strategies to increase engagement. Earlier this month, Cigna also launched an app curation platform in partnership with patient engagement company SocialWellth called GoYou, for its customers to browse apps that have been through a certification process.