Guest Post: CIGNA Launches Mobile Browser, Not App

Last week, CIGNA announced the launch of a mobile version of its web site. They are not the first health plan to allow mobile users optimized access to their tools and content. For instance, Aetna launched a mobile browser and mobile app earlier this year (and Caremark released its app over the summer. According to Pew, 9% of all cell phone owners now have health apps and 17% look up health or medical information on their device. It is clear that portable health information is here to stay. What’s not so clear is whether mobile users are more inclined towards a mobile version of a website or to downloading and then using health apps.

It is interesting that CIGNA did not include a health app in its announcement last week. It is possible that a similar health app is forthcoming, but that was not mentioned. Regardless, CIGNA chose to spend resources on launching its mobile browser first. Why would they do that when apps are all the rage? Could it relate to more general stats from Pew that only two-thirds of those with apps actually use them? And that older adult cell phone users in particular do not use the apps that are already on their phone?

Lately it’s not a popular opinion, but there are some who believe that apps are overhyped. Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research in Motion (Blackberry) “thinks the world is wrong about apps. Many are just glorified bookmarks, he argues, that aren’t necessary if you can connect customers to the Web. “I’m not going to bring developers to the Web. I’m going to make mobility Web-friendly,” he says. “Why do you need a YouTube app if you play YouTube? Why do you need an app to follow the Tour de France if you can just follow the Tour de France?” (Business Week article)

IMO, Balsillie is on target. Perhaps CIGNA agrees also.

Guest Blogger: Jeff Abraham is a Senior Director of Pharmacy Solutions at Silverlink Communications where he works with pharmacies, PBMs, and pharmaceutical manufacturers to help them design and implement multi-modal campaigns to engage consumers around their health. Jeff brings deep industry expertise including time with WebMD and Medco Health Solutions.

One Response to “Guest Post: CIGNA Launches Mobile Browser, Not App”

  1. You are absolutely on point with your comments regarding CIGNA Mobile. Our online find-a-Doc and pharma tools are CIGNA’s two most visited sites so we wanted to ensure customers could get there using any web-enabled phone and not having to download and app.

    That said we will continue to build mobile capabilities including apps.

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