December 19, 2014

Future of Healthcare

Healthcare Innovations: Ahead of the Curve

| 5/1/2010
Blue Cross & Blue Shield retail outlet
Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s retail outlets have been so successful that the insurer has expanded the concept.

With more consumers buying insurance on their own, some health insurers are turning to brick-and-mortar retail stores to snag their business. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida debuted its first “Florida Blue” retail location in Jacksonville in 2007 and followed that with a store in Pembroke Pines. The pilot storefronts proved so successful that Blue Cross recently opened two larger stores in Tampa and Miami. Customers can buy policies, get answers to questions about their coverage, get help with a claim, research a medical condition and even get a health assessment. They can also compare provider prices: An MRI might cost anywhere from $400 to $1,500 depending upon the provider. At the Florida Blue store, consumers can comparison shop before scheduling their scans. “The days of the consumer being shielded needed to come to an end,” says Craig Thomas, vice president and chief marketing officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. The company plans to open another location in Orlando later this year.

Humana, meanwhile, has 15 “guidance centers” in the United States, including four in Florida.

— Amy Keller

Humana 'Guidance Center'
Humana has four “guidance centers” in Florida.

Telehealth

UnitedHealthcare videoconferencing
UnitedHealthcare connects patients in underserved areas to doctors miles away through state-of-the-art videoconferencing software.

In certain rural (and some urban) areas, access to doctors and specialists can be as big a challenge for consumers as the cost of care. UnitedHealthcare has teamed up with Cisco to connect patients in underserved areas to primary care physicians, specialists and hospitals via state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology. At a recent demonstration in Tampa, UnitedHealthcare workers showed how a physician can conduct a virtual examination of the patient in real-time via a two-way video screen, interacting with the patient and an on-site nurse who performs medical tests. UnitedHealthcare plans to begin implementing its new “Connected Care” this year in Colorado.

— Amy Keller

UnitedHeathcare videoconferencing

Tags: Healthcare

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