UnitedHealth Group Forms Strategic Partnerships with mHealth Technology Providers

It was announced today that UnitedHealth Group, the organization overseeing both health insurer UnitedHealthcare and health IT provider Optum, has formed strategic partnerships with three mobile health IT firms that all offer mobile products and services designed to help improve consumers’ health and well-being.

The three companies forging the partnership with UnitedHealth include CareSpeak Communication, “Lose it!,” and Fitbit.  Like most large healthcare organizations today, UnitedHealth Group is seeking innovative companies that “help simplify the consumer healthcare experience by making relevant, practical information easier to access by using consumer-friendly technology devices such as smartphones and other mobile devices.”  Here’s a brief overview of each of the three companies forging the alliance with UnitedHealth — all of which will also be presenting at UnitedHealth’s booth during CES this week. . .

CareSpeak Communications, who’s developed a medication and disease management application that helps patients manage their health using SMS.  The CareSpeak system can be used by individual patients to self-manage their therapies, by a pharmaceutical company or pharmacy to provide alerts as a value-added service to their customers, by a health benefits provider to help plan participants manage their health, and by clinicians to manage their patients’ health. The technology enables patients to report, via text message, their medication intakes and biometric data (blood glucose levels, blood pressure, weight, etc.) to their clinician and/or care providers, and receive educational and motivational messages, incentives and rewards for meeting their health goals.

Lose It!, a product developed by FitNow Inc., is a mobile app and website that helps consumers manage their weight and improve their health by tracking their progress, offering peer support, and providing important caloric and nutritional information on what they eat.

Fitbit, who offers a sleek, wireless tracker that includes an accelerometer to more accurately count how many steps a user takes, and an altimeter to track stairs climbed.  The device also calculates how many calories are burned.  The mobile device is also a sleep monitor that tracks both how long and how well the user sleeps.  The information can be uploaded wirelessly to Fitbit.com where consumers can analyze their physical activity.

According to a company press release, Fitbit will be integrated with the “OptumizeMe” mobile health app developed by UnitedHealth Group’s Optum — the health IT arm of UnitedHealth Group.  OptumizeMe “engages and empowers consumers to achieve health goals and encourages healthy behaviors.”  With coaching, relevant and personalized content, and connection to social networks, OptumizeMe also lets people create health challenges — with friends, co-workers and others — to help achieve health and fitness goals.

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