By the end of the year, HealthPartners, a health insurance provider, plans to roll out mobile applications to its 1.3 million subscribers thanks to a licensing deal with Toronto-based Diversinet for its MobiSecure platform. HealthPartners is working with Diversinet to create the applications, which will help subscribers communicate with their care managers via secure, two-way messaging on a range of smartphones, including Apple iPhone, Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Palm devices.
HealthPartners exepcts the first users to be women with high-risk pregnancies and patients with chronic conditions who were recently discharged from the hospital. Improving timely care while cutting down on emergency room visits and readmissions are the objectives for those two groups, according to HealthPartners.
Prior to HealthPartners, Diversinet's biggest customer is the US Army, which is currently piloting an mCare application for wounded warriors. The pilot currently includes hundreds of US veterans but the Army's license is for upwards of 10,000 users. Safe bet: Diversinet's partnership with the US Army is only beginning if its inroads with the country's armed forces.
The company has tweaked its offering slightly in the past few months: Diversinet now offers its MobiSecure platform for smartphone users only. It recently developed and launched a SecureSMS product for feature phone users, including BREW-based phones and the like. SecureSMS is a better fit for feature phones, which typically don't run apps or navigate menus well. Feature phone users also typically do not have real data plans since their phones often lack web browsers.
The HealthPartners deal is likely the first of many for Diversinet this year:
"The new Diversinet-powered applications will enable us to extend our commitment to use technology to reach our members how and when it's convenient for them," Scott Aebischer, HealthPartners Senior Vice President, Customer Services and Product Innovation stated in a company release. "We know we can rely on Diversinet's proven ability to provide secure, two-way communications for the healthcare industry. The MobiSecure platform also surpasses other solutions in delivering broad device support, wide functionality, and easy-to-understand features."
MobiHealthNews caught up with Diversinet's new Executive Vice President of Healthcare, Mark Trigsted.
"In five years we want Diversinet to be like 'Intel-inside' in that if you use our products you know your product is safe, secure and HIPAA compliant," Trigsted said. "Ipso facto."
Of course, security is a key concern for providers charged with deploying new mobile health services. It's clear that the advent of companies like Diversinet focused on securing mobile health services has not yet become wide known: Take this recent interview that HISTalk conducted with the former chair of the HIMSS board, Barry Chaiken.
"Now you have these unsecured networks sending personal health information over them. That’s a big problem. I think that problem needs to be addressed," Chaiken said. "As best as I know, there’s no technology to specifically address it right now. I mean, I guess you can shut off everybody’s smartphone, but still, they can take pictures and when they leave the hospital they can obviously send them."
As best as we know, it's only a short matter of time before the big HIT vendors discover Diversinet.