Health IT

Mobile health technology firms team up with UnitedHealth

The digital or mobile health technology market is likely to be more than $400 million by 2016, up from just $120 million  in 2010, according to one late-2011 study. No surprises that traditional healthcare entities are sitting up and taking notice. Insurance giant UnitedHealth Group, which is no stranger to health IT given its large […]

The digital or mobile health technology market is likely to be more than $400 million by 2016, up from just $120 million  in 2010, according to one late-2011 study.

No surprises that traditional healthcare entities are sitting up and taking notice.

Insurance giant UnitedHealth Group, which is no stranger to health IT given its large Optum business division,  announced Monday that it is entering into partnerships with three mobile health companies — CareSpeak Communications, Lose It! and FitBit. Terms of the relationships were not disclosed and a call to a spokesman was not immediately returned.

CareSpeak Communications, about which MedCity has written about previously and which began its partnership with UHC back in September, is a text-messaging service that prompts patients to take their medication regularly and manage their disease.  The technology allows patients to text their medication consumption and biometric data such as blood glucose levels and blood pressure to clinicians while receiving educational and motivational messages, incentives and rewards for meeting their health goals.

Lose It!, developed by FitNow, is a weight-management app and website, and is available on iPhone and the Android operating system. The company claims that the average user of its app loses 12.3 pounds and that the app has helped users to lose a cumulative 7.4 million pounds.

FitBit is a fancy pedometer that helps users wirelessly track steps taken as well as stairs climbed. The device also provides information on how many calories have been burned. The product will be integrated with UHC’s OptumizeMe mobile health app, created by UHC’s Optum division. UHC is not the only high-profile endorsement that FitBit has gotten. The product is also featured prominently in the Mayo Clinic’s one-of-a-kind retail store in the Mall of America.

Of the three, Lose It! and FitBit, with their focus on weight loss and health and wellness, represent exactly the type of technologies that the study expects to account for the largest share of the growing mobile healthcare market.

Photo Credit: borgenproject.blogspot.com