The last time Anthem made big news relevant to the urgent care community, it was something of a blessing: the insurer announced it was going to deny claims for emergency room visits that wound up being for nonemergent complaints, possibly incentivizing patients to go to urgent care instead. The reception might not be so warm for the company’s latest initiative, though. Anthem says it’s going to launch a new app that will allow its members access their health information directly, enter their current symptoms, and get an automated response explaining how doctors have diagnosed and treated other patients with similar issues. After that, patients have the option of connecting with a physician for a fee that’s less than the copay for an office visit. Anthem says it expects the new service option will help reduce costs and plug gaps in the healthcare continuum. What it has not said is that some patients may decide they don’t need to see a provider at all if the app gives them the impression it’s not necessary, opening the door to missed diagnoses or delayed care for diagnoses that could become more serious as time goes on without treatment.

New Anthem App Could Cut Out Live Providers All Together
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