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Mobile apps help track health risks, manage medical insurance benefits Posted: August 22nd, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Smart phones can do everything from play games to clip coupons. Increasingly, medical insurance companies and health care firms are creating mobile apps to help individuals manage their health insurance coverage and watch out for potential health issues. Recent apps related to health insurance have won awards and made headlines with their innovative use of technology.

Radiation calculator aims to limit patient exposure

Medical diagnostic imaging offers physicians high-tech tools to make sound health care decisions. From traditional X-rays to the latest CT and PET scans, patients are subject to an array of testing procedures that make use of radiation. According to Magellan Health Services, Americans are exposed to nearly seven times more radiation from medical devices today than they were back in 1980.

To help patients track their exposure, Magellan has launched a Radiation Calculator app for Apple mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad. The app allows users to input the type of imagining tests they've received as well as what portion of their body was exposed to the test. The app estimates the amount of radiation exposure and allows individuals to compare their levels with national averages.

"With the rapid advancements in imaging and increasing utilization beyond the traditional radiology department, tools like the Radiation Calculator are essential and empower patients to have a conversation with their physicians about all of their options for arriving at a diagnosis," said Dr. Michael Pentecost in a statement. Pentecost is the associate chief medical officer at National Imaging Associates, a subsidiary of Magellan.

Humana wins awards for member app

Health insurer Humana was in good company as it recently received two Stevie Awards for mobile innovation. Alongside businesses such as Groupon, GE and Apple, the insurer was recognized for having an outstanding mobile app. The company's MyHumana app won the People's Choice Award for Best New Smartphone or Tablet App and a subcategory award for Best New Product/Service.

In statement, Brian LeClaire, Humana's senior vice president and chief service and information officer, commented, "Humana's Mobile Business and IT teams have worked hard to build world-class applications that help make healthy lifestyles more attainable for our members."

Those enrolled in Humana health insurance plans can use the MyHumana app to search for health care providers, locate urgent care facilities and review spending account balances. The app is available for download on both Apple and Android devices.