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The program will now be accessible from more devices, making it available to self-insured employers
As the way we think about healthcare shifts to a greater focus on wellness and care before people get sick, the major health insurance companies have launched programs designed to help members stay active and fit, thereby potentially reducing the needs for them to see a doctor. Blue Shield, for example, has its Wellvolution program, which helps people improve their lifestyle in a way that fits their specific needs and preferences, and Humana has its Go365 program, which encourages members to make healthy lifestyle choices by rewarding them for completing certain healthy activities.
The goal, of course, is to get as many people onto these programs as possible, but that's easier said than done; there's a lot that goes into the collecting, sorting and sharing of data that these companies don't have expertise in.
That's why Humana announced on Wednesday that is has partnered with Validic, a digital health platform that connects providers, pharmaceutical companies, payers, wellness companies and healthcare IT vendors to health data gathered from hundreds of in-home clinical devices, wearables and consumer healthcare applications.
"We’re in the personal health data space, helping to improve the quality of people’s lives by building technology that makes their personal health data actionable. What that means in practice is that we help connect people to their care providers through data that they capture in their everyday lives," Validic CEO Drew Schiller told me in an interview.
"We capture data from hundreds of disparate sources, anything you use in your regular daily live, from a wearable device to an in-home monitoring device, such as a blood pressure monitor, glucose monitor, weight scale, as well as health apps. We standardize and normalize the data and provide one simple access point for the use in healthcare."
Founded in 2010, Validic powers two types of solutions: one is health intervention programs, which means things like remote monitoring of chronic conditions or monitoring patients who’ve discharged with heart failure.
The second type of solution are health incentives, which is where Humana's Go365 program comes. These incentives can include consumer health and wellness companies that are looking to motivate and incentivize individuals toward healthy behaviors. That can be things like step tracking challenges as well as adherence to treatment programs like diabetes program, things like that.
Launched in 2016, Go365 allows members to earn what are called Go365 Bucks, which can be then cashed in towards rewards such as gift cards for retailers like Amazon, Target and Best Buy, movie tickets and fitness gear. Members can also donate the Go365 Bucks they earn to specific charities.
Humana is using Validic's technology, Schiller said, to expand the program to more wearables, health apps, and in-home medical devices, which will give access to more of Humana's populations, including large self-insured employer groups.
"Really what we’re helping them do is supercharge their wellness intervention. So, this would be getting folks more engaged proactively with their healthcare and being able to being able to bring in more data from things like activity trackers and nutrition apps and things like that. The second thing, on that front with the large self-insured employers, is moving into, how do they leverage the incentive programs to help folks manage their chronic conditions?" he explained.
"So, for employees who have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes or hypertension, which are extremely common in the U.S. workforce, how can the incentive programs help them better manage that condition and stay more adherent to their treatment programs? That might mean blending them checking their blood pressure and taking medication with increasing their physical activity. We’re really the data backend for how they’re able to objectively understand how folks are improving their health."
In addition, Validic is also helping Humana to integrate things like tobacco cessation applications in order to "to help folks who are traditionally underserved from a health incentive and wellness perspective," and who have different needs than someone who is sedentary at work.
"We are really giving them access to world class tools, like Humana Go365, to help them improve their health metrics, which are different than strapping on a FitBit and going on a walk at work. It’s more foundational of really improving basic nutrition, access to food, tobacco cessation," said Schiller.
Eventually, the plan is for Humana to continue to expand Go365 to even more populations through this partnership, including giving access to Medicare and Medicaid members.
The value for Humana in using Validic's technology is that it helps the company scale the product in a way they otherwise wouldn't have been able to by taking care of how the data is collected and dispersed.
"It is really difficult to scale a program like this to hundreds of thousands, or millions, of members from a data connectivity, data ingestion, data cleansing perspective. Validic is really the only company out there that’s proven to be able to scale this across hundreds of devices, millions of members, and multiple clients," said Schiller.
"So, when Humana started to look at, ‘Our program is successful today, we have big plans to make it even more successful, and have more of our members have access to this solution, how do we do that?’ As they started to look at partners in the market, I think Validic was a natural choice."
The real value, though, comes from allowing a company like Humana to put their focus where it belongs: on the things that they are good at and that differentiate them as an organization, rather than on things they aren't designed for.
"The core value for Humana, and companies like them, is not how do they get the data from members across all these different devices? The core value is, what they do once they have the data? And how do they get more data sources on board, so they can have even more information to help folks along in their health journey? Validic solves that key focus of how they get the data so they can focus on what they do with it," he explained.
"All of these health plans are building their competitive differentiation on what the interventions are and how they engage with members. The competitive differentiator is not that you get data. So, we really solve how they get data, the scale question, and really enable them to utilize all of their internal resources to focus on their key competitive differentiators around how they engage members and improve health in the market."
Of course, there's value for Validic as well; this partnership helps the company with its mission, which is to improve the quality of human life by building technology that makes personal data actionable.
"Through partnerships with organizations like Humana, we see an opportunity to have a massive impact on the health of folks in the United States. The fact of the matter is that, all of us have technology in our pocket, many of us have technology on our wrist via wearable, and a lot of us are using in-home monitoring devices but, today, the data that we’re capturing in our daily lives is largely locked in those devices, and not utilized for healthcare," Schiller said.
"Through partnerships like this, we’re able to unlock some pretty incredible opportunities to improve outcomes, as well as just the dialogue between individuals and their healthcare providers in new ways."
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Validic provides the industry's leading digital health platform connecting providers, pharmaceutical companies, payers, wellness companies and healthcare IT vendors to health data gathered from hundreds of in-home clinical devices, wearables and consumer healthcare applications. Reaching more than 223 million lives in 47 countries, its scalable, cloud-based solution offers one connection to a continuously-expanding ecosystem of consumer and clinical health data, delivering the standardized and actionable insight needed to drive better health outcomes and power improved population health, care coordination and patient engagement initiatives. Validic was named to Gartner's "Cool Vendors" list and received Frost & Sullivan's "Best Practices and Best Value in Healthcare Information Interoperability" and "Top 10 Healthcare Disruptor" awards. To learn more about Validic, follow Validic on Twitter or visit www.validic.com.