Utah health system Intermountain launches patient app

By Jonah Comstock
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IntermontainSalt Lake City, Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare has released its second patient-facing app, called Intermountain Health Hub. The app, available from both the iOS AppStore and the Google Play store, contains a number of different features and functions for Intermountain patients including medical reference information, information for locating care, and access to health records.

The app has three different features for locating care. "Instacare" helps users locate an urgent care center within the Intermountain system. It also allows them to compare wait times at different locations and to hold a spot in line before they arrive. Two other search features let users search for doctors -- by location, specialty, or name -- and facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. Another feature is specifically dedicated to pharmacies, allowing users to refill prescriptions and check the status of prescriptions.

For users who are experiencing an actual illness or disease event, the app contains a symptom checker, in which users can enter their symptoms or their child's symptoms and the app will tell them whether they need to see a doctor or treat themselves with some form of self-care. The app also has a first aid guide for common injuries.

Another particularly interesting feature is called GermWatch, which uses location data to let the user see "how active various germs are in your area and around the state, and see how their activity level is trending," according to the app store description. The app gives information about symptoms, how germs are spread, treatments, vaccinations, and when to call a doctor as well. GermWatch was previously released as its own separate app.

Finally, the app allows users to both access the patient portal to their EHR and to pay medical bills through the app. In the My Health patient portal, users can securely message their doctor, access lab results, and review claims and benefits. One more feature lets users send personalized cards to patients in the hospital via the app. 

Intermountain Healthcare, a Utah-based hospital system with 22 hospitals and 185 clinics, has worked in the past with several digital health companies. It upgraded its pilot with wristworn vital signs monitor company Sotera Wireless into a customer relationship last year, and prior to that teamed up with MModal to develop a speech-enabled computerized physician order entry system.

The health system also previously released an app called Baby Steps, aimed at helping women track their pregnancy and prepare for parenthood. It includes a checklist, weekly updates and tips, a baby name finder, and a video library. Two hospitals in the Intermountain system, Dixie Regional Medical Center and Valley View Medical Center, also have their own apps in the AppStore.

Last September, MobiHealthNews found that only about 200 hospital-branded apps existed in the iOS AppStore. Of those, 30 percent included ER appointment booking and 3 percent included EHR access.