Independence Health Group, a Philadelphia-based insurer serving 8.5 million lives across 24 states, has joined with Comcast to build a patient-centered technology and communications platform to improve the care delivery process between clinicians and patients.

The partnership anticipates combining the healthcare capabilities of Independence Health with the technical communications expertise of Comcast.

How the platform will result in improved care delivery is not yet clear as the organizations have not shared the details of the collaboration agreement or specifics on the projects they will pursue.

The agreement is yet another example of a technology company –in this case, Comcast—seeking to bring its resources and technical capabilities to address vexing healthcare issues. In another example, Apple recently partnered with about 40 healthcare organizations to enable patients to access their electronic health records information using Apple’s iPhone.

Rapid technological advances have changed healthcare consumer expectations about accessing and using goods and services, says Daniel Hilferty, president and CEO at Independence Health. “Through this collaboration, we will explore how we best use digital technology to enhance how consumers access and use healthcare services, which we know at times can be frustrating.”

Daniel Hilferty
Daniel Hilferty

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The project is part of a commitment from Independence Health to invest in standalone initiatives focusing on healthcare innovation. For its part, Comcast brings technology, communications and media expertise that Independence Health will use to improve patient service and care.

“Comcast’s unique experience in technology and content can be an enabler for disruptive, personalized and media-rich innovations in healthcare,” says Sam Schwartz, chief business developer officer at Comcast, which also is based in Philadelphia.

Previous digital health care improvement programs from Independence Health have covered such areas as consumer empowerment, value-based care and public-private collaborations to improve quality while controlling costs. The insurer also is a founding sponsor of the local health information exchange.

Over time, the organizations expect the platform they develop to be accessible across the nation.

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