Leveraging technology to improve access to healthcare

Published October 24, 2016

From computers to mobile devices, technology has revolutionized the way businesses interact with their customers. Thanks to websites, apps and social media, consumers are accustomed to being able to make purchases and access information in seconds. Industries across the globe have adapted to the digital era and healthcare is no exception. One of the many ways Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies are leveraging technology is to help improve access to healthcare services.

Can’t find your insurance card? There’s an app for that. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Puerto Rico (Triple-S Salud) is the first Puerto Rican health insurer to develop a mobile app for its commercial members. Triple-S Salud’s mobile app allows members to have a digital version of their member ID card, access information about benefits, copayments and the medical directory, and generate a certificate of coverage from their mobile phone.

Members can also access information about medical services they received over the past two years, including pharmacy, medical, hospital and dental services as well as lab tests. Members can use these features to check if it’s time for a preventive screening or to reference the date of their last visit to the doctor or dentist.

Not only are BCBS companies easing access to healthcare information with services like the mobile apps, they are using technology to make it easier to access a doctor. Making it to the doctor’s office can be a challenge for some - particularly those who live in medically underserved areas where the closest doctor can be miles away - but telemedicine is changing that. Telemedicine uses technologies such as two-way video for remote diagnosis and patient monitoring over secure servers which allow for patients to send images to their doctors safely.

The increased utilization of telemedicine has enabled healthcare providers to better evaluate, diagnose and treat patients remotely; however, geographic disparities remain. That is why CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) dedicated nearly $3 million dollars to 10 non-profit health organizations in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia to expand the use of telemedicine in underserved and rural areas The resulting services will support access to home health, primary care, specialty care, behavioral health and chronic care management in areas with demonstrated need.

To learn more about other ways Blue Cross Blue Shield companies are improving access to healthcare in their communities, download the full Investing in America’s Health report.