Chuck Freedman | Director, Vertical Insights
February 04, 2013

Aetna’s Role in Advancing Mobile Healthcare


Healthcare and mobile technology influence each other more each day, making seamless data sharing essential for their mutual development. And as the best conduit for fast and organized information exchange, APIs are now becoming crucial to healthcare innovation.

Aetna, a major U.S. health insurance provider, has enjoyed the benefits of contributing to healthcare advancement since releasing its API. The company’s CarePass platform gives developers ability to allow their app users to securely access health-related data, which in turn boost awareness of Aetna’s brand initiative.  

Headlining key healthcare events this past year, Aetna CE Mark Bertolini has proclaimed a clear path for the Capreass Initiative. “We are harnessing the power of technology to connect fragmented health data and turn it into cohesive, relevant, actionable information,” explains Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini. “CarePass is just one example of our efforts to empower consumers to manage their whole health, on their terms, when and where it suits them.”

Via CarePass, Aetna has partnered with several notable health apps including Runkeeper, Passage and Earnedit. These health solutions range from fitness to nutrition and general wellness tools, some of which even connect consumers with their physicians.

iTriage, for example, allows patients to look up symptoms and locate doctors in Aetna’s insurance system. The MapMyFitness program uses Carepass to help outdoor athletes map and share their workouts via an online database. And FoodEssentials leverages the API to extract nutrition information from barcodes.

As with any venture involving healthcare data, of course, privacy is always a paramount concern. Fortunately, API management services like Mashery allow companies like Aetna to choose how much and what kind of data developers can access as well as offering 24/7 support.

Aetna’s Carepass Sync API allows people to sync Carepass-based apps across smartphones and tablets. In other words, whatever miles or calories someone logs in one app will become part of that user’s personal health cloud. Along with the incredible features, apps that become part of the Carepass ecosystem are often promoted to Carepass users.

Demand for Carepass Sync has increased. Aetna recently hosted a 3-day integration workshop to help developers integrate the Carepass Sync API into their apps. Attendees included CEOs, co-founders, project managers and developers.

The integration workshop was designed with help from Mashery’s Strategy Service team, to meet developer support needs. Since acceptance into the Carepass ecosystem requires app review and approval, Aetna and app developers found it valuable to work together to add the Carepass Sync API in an instructional setting. Of the apps selected to attend the workshop, several will be selected to join Aetna and demo their apps at Mashery’s Circus Mashimus during this year’s SXSW conference.

Thanks to community-building events like this, Aetna’s API strategy continues to foster an ecosystem of wellness apps that reduce demands on doctors and improve the lives of patients.

For example, integrated apps and devices like Fitbit can ultimately make doctors’ jobs easier by providing them with the empirical exercise data they need to diagnose and treat conditions. On the flip side, Earndit motivates patients to lace up their running shoes by rewarding them with gift cards for working out.

And as other health care companies begin to follow Aetna’s lead by offering API, even more apps like these stand to benefit doctors and patients alike all moving healthcare innovation forward.