Those explanation-of-benefits statements patients find in their mailboxes every time they go to the doctor will soon be supplemented with personalized video messages. In early 2013, health insurer Humana plans to offer the videos by incorporating Hewlett-Packard's Exstream communications management software and SundaySky SmartVideo technology.
HP announced its collaboration with SundaySky on Sept. 11 to incorporate personalized videos in Exstream.
Exstream is software that delivers customized communications in enterprises. Hospitals also use Exstream to deliver customized discharge instructions when they leave a facility through a secure Web portal, Short Message Service (SMS) texts, email or voice mail.
The personalized videos include a voice-over narrator as part of SundaySky's SmartVideo application. SmartVideos offer information on account usage, services used, recent activity and payment history, HP reported.
The SmartVideo application allows companies to create 50 to 60 types of voice-over changes that support thousands of combinations, Christopher Nicholson, Humana's service vice president, strategic consultancy, told eWEEK.
In a video EOB from Humana, called "Your Humana Video Update," patients will be able to view a "teaser" to help them digest details of their health-plan usage, said Nicholson.
Members access the videos through a link emailed to them. They can then watch the video in a Web browser as well as on a smartphone or tablet.
Humana demoed a SmartVideo at the HP Exstream Americas User Conference in Nashville, Tenn., from Sept. 10 to 13.
The video starts by displaying the patient's group name, group ID, medical plan, medical ID and medical network. A Statement Period Summary screen then lists data such as total billed charges, plan discounts, amount the plan paid and the amount the patient paid. Patients can also view yearly amounts for these items.
A later screen lists a health savings account balance. The video also breaks down the health expenses by family member for medical, prescriptions and dental.
Video EOBs will be a supplement rather than a complete replacement for the text document, according to Nicholson. Regulatory requirements would prohibit Humana from discontinuing the traditional EOB statements in favor of videos only, said Nicholson.
Members who receive EOBs in electronic form will be able to receive SmartVideos from the same data structures and data feeds, said Nicholson. Exstream enables Humana to provide the data feeds, he added.
The videos could help increase use of Humana's secure portal, where members view PDFs of EOBs, said Nicholson.
"The images are dynamic and render the content in real time," said Nicholson.
After a patient views a SmartVideo, it will be erased from Humana's server, Nicholson noted. The video won't be cached or stored and meets guidelines on protected health information, he said.
SmartVideo and Exstream operate as shared Web services, Nicholson noted.
The health plan EOBs from Humana will use personalized video technology similar to those that AT&T offers in telecommunication to deliver video bills for its U-verse cable TV, Internet and voice services.
In addition to providing video EOBs, Humana plans to use the SmartVideo technology to communicate with insurance brokers about new-product changes and selling strategies, said Nicholson.
"We live in this YouTube-type environment where everybody wants the 60-second commercial video for everything, so if you can catch them and create that retention of information in alternate channels, you may have success," said Nicholson.