IH Members Can Now Use Their Alexa-Enabled Device for Assistance

Independent Health Members Can Now Use Their Alexa-Enabled Device to Ask Alexa for Assistance with Plan and Provider Information

Independent Health to offer its members voice service capabilities through skill for Amazon Alexa

WILLIAMSVILLE, NY, September 18, 2017 – “Alexa, ask Independent Health what’s my deductible?” “Alexa, ask Independent Health what’s my cost to see my doctor?” “Alexa, ask Independent Health where can I go for urgent care?”

Independent Health members can now get answers to those questions, and several more, using the Independent Health skill for Amazon Alexa, a hands-free voice service, with the launch of a new skill developed by members of the health plan’s eBusiness team.

This is the latest development by Independent Health to extend its nationally-recognized customer service into the digital world. In 2012, it was the first local health plan to launch the award winning (Gold Medalist 2012 Web Health Awards) mobile app, MyIH, providing members with quick access to important information via their smartphones and other mobile devices

“Customer service has long been the cornerstone of the Independent Health brand and innovation is one of our key brand attributes,” said Tom Kingsley, vice president of customer experience and innovation. “This new skill extends our nationally recognized customer service into the new world of voice technology, enabling our members with an Alexa-enabled device to easily access basic plan and provider information in a convenient, efficient and secure manner.

“Our member services team will continue to be available to provide the high-touch, award-winning RedShirt® Treatment Independent Health members have come to expect from our organization,” added Kingsley. “Voice technology offers one more convenient way members can interact with us, if desired, but it will never replace the personal touch for those customers seeking a greater focus on their appropriate medical care, or more specific questions about their coverage and benefits.”

Today’s announcement follows closely on the heels of Independent Health’s recent partnership with Brook, an innovative Seattle-based technology company, to offer an advanced mobile app to help people throughout the Western New York region manage type 2 diabetes.

The Brook diabetes app offers a number of personalized solutions that make it easy for individuals with diabetes to monitor their conditions. Based on a user’s daily activity, Brook provides insight on what’s working along with expert recommendations to keep blood sugar at a safe level, allowing patients to take the guesswork out of understanding how daily decisions affect their health. The app also features cutting-edge capabilities to help users track their progress over time using graphs and charts.

The new Independent Health skill for Amazon Alexa can be accessed by downloading the Amazon Alexa app from the App Store or Google Play and searching for and enabling the skill. Members can also use it to ask questions about their benefits, the balance on their Health Extras card1 and their plan-related costs and copays.

Independent Health said it will look to expand these capabilities to similar platforms such as Google Home in the future.

The latest tool complements the existing MyIH app that enables Independent Health members to track their deductible; access their benefit summary information including copayments and out-of-pocket costs, benefit limits and coverage; and search the health plan’s network of participating physicians, pharmacies and urgent care centers.

It also further augments Independent Health’s existing customer support, including its Medicare information centers, its 24-hour medical help line, nurse chat and telemedicine benefit; its website and its toll-free customer service phone number at 1- 800-501-3439.

1 - The Health Extras card is a $250 prepaid MasterCard® that members with the benefit can to use toward a variety of health and wellness goods and services, such as gym memberships, wellness and fitness classes, after school programs for children, vitamins and supplements, etc.