Highmark, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Independence Blue Cross (IBC), along with software company Lumeris, on Tuesday announced they are buying NaviNet, a real-time communications network linking doctors, hospitals and insurers.
In an example of the potentially increasing partnerships between insurers and health information technology firms, the deal could help the Blues plans develop payment models that reward doctors for better care and develop accountable care organizations (ACO) with doctors and hospitals, the Boston Business Journal reported.
The goal is to "break down the fragmented way we deliver care in this country," said IBC President and Chief Executive Dan Hilferty. "It will put us and the provider on the same pathway."
NaviNet, which IBC already uses to submit claims and handle other administrative functions, also helps doctors answer insurance-related administrative queries. The Blues deal will layer the Lumeris ACO management platform on top of the NaviNet real-time communication network to simplify ACO adoption. The combination, for example, will pull together information from patients' various records and provide specific recommendations and alerts to physicians, The New York Times reported.
Adding the Lumeris technology would be a "leap forward in giving physicians clinically actionable information so they can better manage patients' care," IBC Executive Vice President Steven Udvarhelyi told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Blues plans are hoping that, by providing easier information access to doctors, they can reduce costs by eliminating redundancy, preventing exacerbations of chronic illnesses and avoiding complications caused by conflicting treatments, he added.
Neither the purchase price, nor the insurers' ownership stake, was disclosed. The deal is expected to close in 30 days, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.