The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) has mandated many changes to the U.S. healthcare system. Two of these are the required use of electronic health records and the creation of patient portals that allow patients to access their information online. These changes can help patients become more involved in their health and medical treatment. Unfortunately, this information is siloed in isolated systems, each requiring separate authorizations and access procedures. This results in a level of complexity and inconvenience that many patients are not willing to navigate.
b.well is a company that has created a solution for this problem. It has created a free app for iOS and Android devices that can access health records on different systems for you and your family, and provide a single, secure location for the information. (There is also a web-based version.) It provides a dashboard-style interface that interprets your data in an easy to understand format. The system would probably be useful if this is all that it did, but as they say on the late night infomercials, “But wait, there’s more!”
The b.well app can track your health insurance details, including co-pays, deductibles, and prescription costs. It can accept data from fitness wearables and other connected health devices for sleep tracking, nutrition, and more. It includes a health assessment that lets you get an overview of your physical condition. The app also provides challenges that you can take, earning rewards from partner companies including the Home Chef meal delivery service. The app also gives you access to telemedicine services if you want to consult with a doctor by video chat or phone call, and you can schedule appointments with your physician. You can also share your information with family members and care providers; you get to decide who gets to see which information.
As we gather more data about our individual health and medical history, we are faced with the challenge of trying to make sense out of all this data. The b.well app looks like an excellent step in the right direction to make it easier and more convenient to make good choices based on this information.