Changes in Aetna’s online offerings: what the impact?

I find Aetna to be a leader in using online tools to increase member engagement in their health (with the interest to lower costs, of course). One interesting online service they had was CarePass, which, as I recall, was adding features and, I thought, was growing to be central to all of Aetna’s online offerings. I used to use it as a great example of what payers should be doing to become more consumer-centric.

Aetna to shut down CarePass by the end of the year
“One of the primary ways that Aetna is improving health care is through the increased use of innovative technology,” the spokesperson wrote. “We are consistently creating technology-based solutions that make it easier for consumers to navigate the health care system and get the most out of their health benefits. While we are continually developing these solutions, we also need to evaluate our investments to ensure that we are providing the most value to our members.”

While it’s always sad to see the demise of an interesting attempt at an online mobile health service, it’s important to be able to iterate and experiment to truly find what folks want. And they are not getting rid of iTriage. They purchased iTriage a few years ago. I think CarePass was growing from within Aetna.

With the closing of CarePass, what happens to the data and users? What’s the impact on the pioneering users, too? And is Aetna the right place to iterate and experiment? Does closing CarePass dampen the futures of other similar online services?

What do you think?