The HMSA offering is a mobile-optimized website that appears at hmsa.com automatically (and only) for people using iPhones, Android phones, and the Palm Pre — with support for BlackBerry devices coming soon.
You can find a participating doctor or facility, catch up on HMSA’s various social media accounts (five Twitter accounts, plus a blog and YouTube channel), and look up discounts from businesses that participate in HMSA365.
The HMSA mobile site has no login or account-related features, so there’s no confidential information involved. I was curious at first as to why it wanted to know my location, but its GPS support allows you find the people and places nearest you. For example, if I were an HMSA member, I could get 20 percent off at Fit For Life, 0.44 miles away.
And if I were an HMSA member, I’d probably also know the name of my plan, which unfortunately you need to specify before you can look up doctors, dentists, pharmacies or facilities.
I think it would be interesting to be able to browse all doctors or facilities, or to look up a doctor I know by name to see if he works with HMSA. It’d sure be a great way to show off the size of the HMSA network to non-members like me.
The app is directed primarily at Bank of Hawaii customers, providing them with a streamlined way to log in to online banking and perform basic banking tasks, from checking balances and recent transactions to transferring funds between accounts and paying bills.
Connectivity is via the app, rather than over the web, so I’m not sure how users can independently verify that their information is traveling via a secure connection… apart from the “Secure Mobile Session” lock icon that appears in the lower left corner of the app regardless of whether you’re connected to an account or not.
The app also takes advantage of GPS-capable devices by allowing users to find the nearest ATMs and bank branches. And you can do this without a Bank of Hawaii account. So even though I’m no fan of Bank of Hawaii, it’s still a useful feature because my credit union piggybacks on their ATM network.
According to the Apple App Store, the Bank of Hawaii iPhone app was developed by MShift, which specializes in mobile technologies for banks (and which has deployed similar apps for M&I Bank and Fairwinds Credit Union in Florida.