Anthem joins Stanford initiative to find benefits from AI

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Anthem Blue Cross is joining a Stanford University initiative that aims to advance the development of artificial intelligence for use within healthcare.

The health payer is joining the AI for Health affiliation program as its initial founding member. The corporate affiliates program is housed within the Stanford Department of Computer Science.

Anthem and Stanford will collaborate to use health data to develop unbiased and explainable algorithms through artificial intelligence, with the aim of improving the efficiency, value and delivery of healthcare. The initiative seeks to deliver results that are domain-specific and accessible to patients, practitioners, researchers and business users.

Anthem intends to take an active role in the program and has specific deliverables it is pursuing, said a spokewoman for the Indianapolis-based health insurer.

Anthem will collaborate with Stanford to fund research on how artificial intelligence algorithms and systems can advance healthcare administration, delivery and wellness.

“We know we need to be innovative with our approach to creating these technologies to help transform healthcare,” the spokeswoman added. “The current platform for Anthem NLP solutions is based on Stanford NLP technology, so this collaboration will enable us to expand Anthem Blue Cross expertise on NLP and AI.”

The insurance payer and affiliated health plans offer insurance products in almost a dozen states.

Advancements in patient literacy, patient engagement and healthcare transparency have been identified as the first areas to be addressed through the relationship. Exploring these initial topics is an important step in Anthem’s efforts to create solutions to simplify healthcare for consumers.

“When a consumer or (a family member) is sick, understanding insurance and financial liability should be least of their concerns, the focus should be on getting the needed treatment,” says Rajeev Ronanki, senior vice president and chief digital officer for Anthem.

The AI for Health affiliation program is separate and distinct from other efforts underway at Stanford to increase the impact that artificial intelligence can have in a variety of areas, including healthcare.

The university is launching the Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, which will focus on guiding AI to benefit humanity.

The university-wide institute is committed to partnering with industry, governments and non-governmental organizations that want to find ways to use AI. As a part of the commitment, the institute is working closely with companies across sectors, including technology, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing.

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