Health IT

UnitedHealthcare mobile app to manage patient prescriptions

UnitedHealthcare Group’s OptumRx division is developing a mobile health app that will help its members manage their prescriptions and medications more effectively using smartphones.

OptumRx works with employers who use the company as a prescription benefits management service. Currently, OptumRx has 13 million members. When the app launches, it will be available to those members and users of the free app can:

  • manage their medication using their smartphones,
  • set reminders and track their medication consumption for all their prescription and nonprescription medications,
  • reach a pharmacist,
  • be alerted of drug interactions
  • and use GPS to locate an in-network pharmacy.

In an interview with MedCity News, Rick Swartz, OptumRx’s vice president of marketing and business development, said that the app will essentially be an extension of the company’s mobile website, which was launched back in November 2010. At the same time, the company announced a medication reminder service for members who opted in to receive text messages from OptumRx.

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“Our mobile website allows members of our prescription benefits management to more effectively manage their pharmacy costs,” Swartz said.

In other words, users can refill medications online, check for a pharmacy online, price a drug to see potential cost savings if they used a mail service instead of a retail pharmacy and view alternative drugs or generic equivalents to help manage costs, Swartz said.

In the 12-month period ending December 2011, the use of the OptumRx has increased 93 percent, Swartz said, noting the increasing interest in mobile health. He said the average age of the members using the company’s text messaging service is 63, and added that use of smartphones and the Internet are pretty high among seniors.

Aside from the OptumRx mobile app being developed, UHC has another mobile app developed by the company’s Optum Health division that focuses on health and wellness. The OptumizeMe mobile app, available on the iPhone and on Android-powered smartphones, allows users to connect with friends online and create fitness challenges.

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