Anthem Blue Cross to launch digital health platform
Anthem Blue Cross is launching an integrated digital health platform designed to create a personalized member experience by connecting healthcare plan and benefits data with individual clinical and claims data, as well as information pulled from fitness and wellness apps.
Called Engage, the platform was developed in collaboration with vendor Castlight Health and will be available starting in January to Anthem’s large groups in California and sister plan in Colorado. In addition, it will be offered to all of the insurer's large employer customers—so far, 20 have signed up for the integrated solution that brings together all of their employees’ key healthcare and benefits data.
“Engage is born out of Anthem’s commitment to provide an engaging healthcare experience for everyone while sparking personal action and empowerment,” said Brian Ternan, president of commercial business at Anthem Blue Cross. “Rather than contending with myriad one-off digital offerings that address only small portions of their health benefits and healthcare or fitness data, Engage brings together an individual’s health and benefits into one location, empowering employees with information and support for better health and better healthcare decisions.”
John Doyle, CEO of Castlight Health, says his company started working with Anthem about four years ago in what he describes as a “data partnership” in which the insurer shared claims data with the vendor to assist mutual customers. That led to a 2015 collaborative arrangement that includes the development of products and a “go-to-market” initiative that ultimately gave rise to the Engage platform.
“All of the hands-on engineering and R&D work is going on here at Castlight,” adds Doyle. “But the Anthem folks have been intimately involved every step of the way.”
According to Doyle, the timing of the Engage launch in January coincides with the new benefits year in 2018. He contends that the digital health platform is “all about healthcare navigation” and the ability for employees to make better cost and quality decisions when accessing care.
“Healthcare navigation is about a highly personalized experience that targets proactive outreach to employees who have a condition or need that an employer program or a network provider could address,” he says, pointing out that the platform is linked with Anthem’s suite of clinical and wellness programs such as programs for expectant mothers or to help manage chronic conditions.
Engage directs employees to the “right resource at the right time at scale,” claims Doyle. For example, he says an Anthem nurse can be alerted to connect with a health plan member based on their medical or lifestyle needs and can help them stick to a care plan, alerting missed lab tests and providing additional educational resources.
The platform also offers “wellness functionality” by connecting to fitness trackers and health apps that provide “data about everything from sleep patterns to physical activity and the like,” according to Doyle, who notes that this employee information can be tracked, and employers can administer wellness challenges and tailor incentives.
As the healthcare industry makes the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care with a corresponding emphasis on quality of care, Doyle believes that Engage can help leverage data to better support new reimbursement models.