To say that the U.S. healthcare industry is in the midst of change would be an understatement. As providers and insurers adjust to new regulatory requirements established by the Affordable Care Act and the HITECH Act, they are not only managing a significant increase in enrollees; they are also expected to help ensure quality patient experiences that drive positive outcomes and contain costs. To help overcome these challenges, providers, insurers and doctors are increasingly evaluating how mobile technology can be used to help patients better connect and manage their health information and stay in contact with their doctors, with the end goal of improving outcomes overall. This is particularly helpful for underserved and high-risk populations of patients, as well as those who may be living with specific health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. Microsoft understands that in order for any mobile solution to make a true impact, it must involve a comprehensive approach. In technology terms, that means merging mobility and productivity with a patient’s personal health record, all in a secure, HIPAA-enabled environment. It must also be able to aggregate data from different sources in a way that connects people and processes, and helps patients make sense of where their information lives and how it works together. On top of that, a solution must help insurers and providers meet regulatory and reimbursement requirements like Meaningful Use.

With an engaged patient experience and improved outcomes as our top priorities, we have developed a mobile health management approach that we’re unveiling today with TracFone, the largest Lifeline provider of free mobile phones, minutes, messaging, and texting for low and moderate income participants. By working with Tracfone, Microsoft is building on the success of TracFone’s SMS/text and phone programs and bringing the benefits of smartphone technology and services to patients through the mobile health management solution. Offered on a Windows Phone, the solution will feature updated email, communication, and calendaring options, as well as personal health record storage and tools to track personal health and fitness, all in a secure environment.

Health Choice Network (HCN), a Miami-based company that manages and connects a network of community health centers with over 760,000 patients, will be a launching a pilot project where 100 diabetes patients will receive a Windows Phone loaded with the mobile health management solution so they can manage their disease – like measuring glucose levels and receiving appointment reminders – from anywhere, anytime.

For several years HCN’s patients with chronic health conditions have benefited from access to their personal health records in HealthVault and this mobile health pilot project will further enhance patient engagement and drive better outcomes for enrollees.

Also stay tuned to this blog as we may have more updates to share from HCN about the pilot project in the coming months.

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