Wearable doctors app will let you pay for health care through your smartphone

Written by By Jeff Masters, CNN, CNN, Updated August 9, 2018, 11:29 AM If you’ve ever made the decision to schedule a visit to the doctor, you’ll know that it takes some time to…

Wearable doctors app will let you pay for health care through your smartphone

Written by By Jeff Masters, CNN, CNN, Updated August 9, 2018, 11:29 AM

If you’ve ever made the decision to schedule a visit to the doctor, you’ll know that it takes some time to plan. The only problem is, you’re probably also scheduling it via your phone, perhaps even when you’re sitting on the couch with the TV on.

Now there’s a piece of technology that can save you at least that time and help you pay less for your visit: a sensor-studded device called a Wearable Doctors App , developed by the Australian government and tax authorities.

The technology, called the Vitality Stamp, can be affixed to your clothing or on your forearm. The data sent from the sensor can connect you with the health insurance company you’ve enrolled in, which can help you save money.

For Australians, the program launched in May. It will be extended in 2019 to a host of other countries including the United States and Canada.

“Previously, consumers could save up to 25% on their health insurance premiums if they visited the doctor via the Smartphone app,” Dominique Flannery, director of health, science and innovation at the Federal Treasury, said in a statement.

How does it work?

Wearable Doctors App uses “life-like hand movements” to provide real-time metrics on your health and health history — including blood pressure, a symptom-detection system and healthy lifestyle data — to your insurance company. You may opt to use the sensor when going to the doctor or just when relaxing at home or on the job.

(More information on the wearable doctors app can be found here .)

Reasons to wear

Matthew O’Neill, chief executive of the health technology company Nucleus (and regular CNN Travel contributor), says wearable doctors app was created to make health insurance more accessible to consumers.

“The real argument for us to be involved here is that health insurance is a real cost issue for individuals and it is a real barrier to using a health-focused app or a health-focused device because you often have a doctor visit scheduled,” he tells CNN Travel.

“So through wearable doctors app, what you’re giving them (rather than requiring your doctor) is real-time flow rate — your steps and your demographics, as well as your responses to all the various questions about your health.

“So it’s not just the app, it’s the sensor, the sensor that’s providing the information to your insurer, which is giving you all of that input. There’s no expense at all to the consumer.”

Image Credit: Courtesy Nucleus/mashable

How much does it cost?

It costs AU$35 a month, or around $25.

Why are health insurance companies interested?

Insurance companies are quite eager to leverage technology and adopt new platforms to help their customers cut costs, O’Neill says. For example, the recently launched user-friendly medical payment system called MyPerMed is an attempt to move beyond the traditional paper and ink-based and virtual health records systems currently in use.

“If you look at it from a health insurance company’s perspective, the role of the doctor is one where they have a fundamental role to play in the health of the individual, but at the same time they also act as a sales tool,” O’Neill explains.

“If you’re a young, fit and healthy individual who’s spending AU$20 a month, then that figure can end up being AU$25 a month or more, so if it makes health insurance really accessible to your group through that service, it really makes sense.

“So that’s the big benefit for an insurance company, is that they get a sales activity around their health insurance plan, and because you’re only paying for the service once, it really helps the awareness around their health insurance plan. And it also helps them to get the young, fit, healthy individual to come back once they’ve got that record of health.

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