Aetna CarePass tackles employee incentives, PHI

By Jonah Comstock
04:52 am
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CarePass City To City TabletWhen Aetna failed to highlight CarePass, its app ecosystem and data platform, at HIMSS this year we wondered what the team had been up to since it added Care4Today medication adherence to its platform. Dan Conroy, Head of Business Development at CarePass, says that for the past year the company has begun to focus on the other stakeholder use case for the technology: employers.

"This is about Aetna not trying to build the single app consumers will flock to," he said at the HxRefactored conference in Brooklyn. "This is about Aetna trying to build something so that they can meet consumers where they are, and trying to leverage the data we have on Aetna customers."

CarePass is available to anyone, not just Aetna customers. But Conroy said this summer the insurer will begin to pilot CarePass for plan sponsors as an engagement vehicle. This involves two additions to the platform -- connecting CarePass data to employee incentive programs, and connecting some data back and forth between the Aetna PHR and CarePass.

"It's the same underlying platform, same back end, same data types, basically the same user experience," he said. "But if you’re an employee at, say, Bank of America, when we roll CarePass out, for them what they would be able to do is put that data to work. Because CarePass is able to connect these different data types, we’ll now be able to reward you for taking healthy actions, without forcing you to use a [particular] tool. As long as it’s connected to CarePass we can align those incentives."

Conroy said that employers spend $520 per employee per year on incentives on average, and that those incentives can lead to a 30 percent increase in health engagement and an 11 percent increase in health outcomes. Incentives through CarePass will be able to focus on any area of life CarePass can track -- exercise, nutrition, mood, or medication adherence -- and can reward employees not just for doing the best, but just for trying and applying themselves.

"We don’t want folks being taken out of the game because there’s someone who’s just a killer athlete and is crushing it for everybody else," he said.

In terms of healthcare data, the pilot will integrate data from CarePass into existing Aetna care programs in which doctors, nurses, or nutritionists would benefit from seeing the patient's tracked health data.

"If you’re in a healthy weight program, for instance, that could be tremendously valuable to the nurse, the dietician, to help you reach that goal weight," he said. "To date, they’re really based on telephonic coaching where they’re asking you 'How active were you for the past two weeks?' 'How has your diet been for the past two weeks?' And it’s really predicated on you being able to recall all that information for the last two weeks. So this will help them by giving them real, quantifiable information in their hands."

Aetna users in the pilot will be able to integrate their Aetna Navigator health plan account with their CarePass account. Information from the PHI will be made available to CarePass on a permission basis, with the user always being asked explicitly. Conroy said only three data points from the PHI will be collected: medication, lab values, and conditions.

That data will be used by the platform to make personalized recommendations or incentive programs. For instance, a patient with high blood pressure's employer might offer him or her a discount on a Withings blood pressure cuff, or offer that cuff as a reward in an incentives program. Zipongo, a coupon app inside CarePass, might start to push forward coupons based on the user's dietary preferences and health needs.

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