Toronto firm licenses mobile app to U.S. health provider

Toronto-based Diversinet Corp. has struck a multi-year deal with U.S.-based non-profit health insurer and provider HealthPartners to build out a secure, mobile communications platform.


Earlier this year, Diversinet unveiled MobiSecure SMS and the latest version of MobiSecure Wallet and Vault, apps designed to ensure patients keep up to date on their personal health records via their mobile devices. The apps, which also work over the Web, support over 200 types of mobile devices, including BlackBerry, Palm, Windows Mobile, Symbian, iPhone, and Android-based handsets.


The agreement means Minneapolis-based HealthPartners will team with Diversinet to develop applications and build out its suite of mobile offerings for patients. Initially, Diversinet said, HealthPartners will offer programs to help subscribers communicate with their care managers via secure, two-way messaging.


HealthPartners will start by offering services to women with high-risk pregnancies and patients with chronic illnesses who have been recently discharged from the hospital. The goals include avoiding premature births and reducing hospital visits, Diversinet said.


Scott Aebischer, senior vice-president of customer service and product innovation for HealthPartners, said his organization has been working with Diversinet over the last few months. Although the health provider has had electronic secure messaging in place for several years, he said this will be its first foray into secure mobile messaging.


“Feedback during the design phase was very positive and was viewed as a further enhancement to the increased need for personalization of care,” he said. “Customers view this as another way of being in touch during their specific health care needs.”


The health provider will start rolling out applications in the fourth quarter of 2010.


With the MobiSecure Wallet and Vault apps, users can receive appointment reminders, test results, prescription information, immunization records, allergy information, and other related medical data. For users involved in a medical emergency abroad, the app will be able to connect back to a patient medical history and information about insurance coverage.


The SMS app basically functions as a low-bandwidth version of this app and can facilitate users without data plans that rely on SMS communication.


Jay Couse, senior vice-president of Diversinet, said research has shown that gentle reminders to patients after they’ve left the hospital facility can have a dramatic impact on health outcomes. This includes e-mails or texts that help the patient understand what their condition is and educating them on the importance of taking their medicine.


Course stressed the importance of automation for a platform such as MobiSecure. “For physicians with hundreds of patients, you can’t have them texting on an individual basis,” he said.


Looking to the future, Diversinet plans to drive e-health even further by connecting home devices such as glucometers, weight scales and blood pressure monitors into the MobiSecure platform. Couse said adding this functionality to the devices, which are increasingly becoming Bluetooth-enabled, would allow health providers to add escalation and trigger points that will automatically inform physicians of a deteriorating condition.

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