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MobileStorm?s launch of mPulse Mobile targets patient engagement, medical costs

MobileStorm?s launch of mPulse Mobile at the start of mHealth Summit 2014 begins a quest to leverage mobile messaging to help medical providers engage consumers while reining in rising healthcare costs.

More than 20 healthcare clients have signed up to use the mPulse platform and consulting services, including the nation?s largest hospital system and largest dental insurance company and half the largest health plans. The company?s launch marks a recognition that mobile can help health plans, hospitals, pharmacies, wellness companies and exchanges better engage their consumers and tackle some of the most expensive and complex challenges impacting the nation?s health.

?Mobile messaging systems, when done well, will have significant impact on engagement,? said Jared Reitzin, CEO and founder of MobileStorm, a mobile messaging and email service provider.

?At no other point in human history have communicators had the ability to connect to consumers at a 1:1 level,? he said. ?However, data cannot exist without being able to connect to a communication solution, and a communication solution is only as good as the data you inject into it. 

?That is why there is a tremendous need for companies like ours to integrate with all kinds of important platforms that are part of the healthcare eco system,? he said. 

?As an example, a medication adherence program should be triggered from a pharmacy benefits management program, an appointment reminder should be triggered from the hospitals? electronic health record system, and a healthy tip campaign to fit diabetes, should be triggered out of a diseases management solution. 

?MPulse has incredible smart messaging technology, but its ultimate value is in being able to interface with multiple partners, and together these partnerships will create tremendous value for our clients.? 

Using data
The list of issues that will be discussed at the mHealth Summit is expected to include the timeliness and efficient use of data in healthcare communications.

Emphasizing mobile's role in healthcare.

?What?s exceptionally promising is that these challenges are now widely viewed as opportunities to finally close the gap between what consumers need and what service providers can actually offer,? Mr. Reitzin said. ?Consumers, for example, are just getting used to the concept of wearable technology, but they?ve already developed an appetite for wearables and related services that can do more than just monitor vital signs or calories burned.

?They want this data to be collected and returned in the form of actionable information ? insight, for example, into how much activity is needed on a given day to reach a particular fitness goal, or SMS notifications when they're close to a health food store and should pick up a particular supplement or dietary aid that could help mitigate a health concern or help expedite recovery from injury,? he said.

The smartphone?s growing use as a sensor is having a transformative effect on how consumers perceive and address their health.

From collecting real-time data ranging from location information to vital signs, companies at the forefront of this evolution now have the power to use data in real time to deliver messages with actionable information that are extremely impactful.
?As an example, one of our partners uses the phone?s accelerometer to measure someone?s gate, and simply by tracking how they walk, they can detect early on-set Parkinson?s disease,? Mr. Reitzin said. ?When you integrate that type of data with a smart messaging platform like mPulse, you can help people get the care they need early, which can lead to less complication and saving people?s lives.?

Companies are getting serious about practical ways data can be efficiently and securely integrated and implemented to make mobile healthcare communications and related services indispensable.?

One to one
?With additional data, something as simple as an appointment reminder could be exponentially more powerful if, for example, you tap into the Waze API,? Mr. Reitzin said. ?This would enable you to notify a person that not only is their appointment in one hour, but that traffic is backed up and the estimated travel time to the appointment is 45 minutes, considerably longer than usual. 

Aiming mobile at healthcare costs.

?In another situation, imagine that rain is in the forecast and an SMS-alert not only confirms your appointment time but also reminds you to bring an umbrella,? he said.

?At the heart of cutting edge healthcare communication is data. Everything is moving toward data and, specifically, data that will make messaging incredibly relevant,? he said. 

?That?s why we're focused on creating a very intimate one-to-one experience versus one-to-many.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.