Adobe plans to have its new multichannel Digital Enterprise Platform create marketplaces for buying health insurance.
Adobe says its new Digital
can enable the health care industry to create HIXs
(health insurance exchanges), which are open Web-based marketplaces that allow
people to shop for and buy health care plans.
Introduced June 20, the
Digital Enterprise Platform is a modular, open-standards infrastructure for
running applications using social networking, Web, mobile and print. It
integrates HTML5, Adobe Air, Flash Player and Adobe Reader.
The PDF Reader is a key
aspect of the Digital Enterprise Platform, according to Michael Jackson, head
of health care solutions for Adobe. "Until you pay for those capabilities,
you're not aware of the power of Adobe Reader," Jackson told eWEEK.
The Digital Enterprise
Platform allows companies to customize which features of PDFs will be visible
to consumers. The PDF reader allows insurance companies or government customers
to customize welcome kits and incorporate digital signatures and brochures.
HIXs will be able to
incorporate online chat with customer service representatives, access to EHRs
(electronic health records), integration with Google Maps to locate doctors and
also the ability to schedule appointments from within EOB (explanation of
benefits) statements, Jackson said. Patients will also be able to dispute
claims from within EOBs.
PPACA (the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act) requires that all states set up HIXs by
Jan. 1, 2014, to provide a marketplace for the public to purchase health care
plans. The public won't be required to buy their health plans through the
exchanges, however. They can still purchase separately through carriers-that
is, if they're not covered by their employers.
"For any state that claims that they
are unwilling or unable to establish their own exchange by 2014, then the
federal government will implement an exchange on their behalf," Jackson said.
Although the technology
behind HIXs and having an open marketplace for people to purchase health plans
may have bipartisan support, requiring people to purchase health plans does not.
Twenty-two states are challenging the legislation that requires citizens to buy
health insurance plans.
"It's not a right
that's been ordained on the federal government to make people purchase
things," Patrick Howard, a principal at Deloitte
, told eWEEK.
Still, this shouldn't affect
the potential for HIXs, according to Jackson. Rather than states, IT companies
can market HIX platforms directly to the insurance carriers themselves.
"Even if health reform gets tweaked in some way, I'm sure these exchanges
will continue to exist in one form or another," Jackson said.
Implementation is still in
the early stages, according to Howard. "They haven't gotten to what the
design model is going to look like," he said. "There's a state
looking at building everything custom; there's another state looking at using
the Oracle [Siebel] stack to build their solution."
Other companies working on
similar platforms include IBM and Microsoft
which rolled out an HIX infrastructure in February.
Five areas of the Digital
Enterprise Platform enabling the creation of HIXs are Web Experience
Management, Social Brand Engagement, Selection and Enrollment, Unified
Workspace and Custom Communication.
Web Experience Management is
a tool that allows companies to create and manage content across the Web, social
media, mobile devices and email.
Social Brand Engagement
provides integration with social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and
the Selection and Enrollment interface includes sliders to help applicants make
choices during the application process, such as selecting their income.
Meanwhile, Unified Workspace
allows for built-in chat with customer-service agents, and Custom Communication
incorporates further interactive communication among customers and exchange or
insurance company personnel.
The Digital Enterprise
Platform will be available in August 2011.
Along with the Digital
Enterprise Platform, Adobe announced Flash
Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5
to allow developers to create applications for the
iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry PlayBook.