HLTH22: Highmark teams with Google Cloud, League on new member app, portal

LAS VEGAS—Highmark Health is teaming up with Google Cloud and League to launch its new member portal and mobile app, with the goal of opening the "digital front door" to a seamless experience.

The new My Highmark app will use a single sign-on approach to connect users with point solutions that may be available in their insurance plan as well as other features, such as bill payment and transparent pricing, to allow for easier navigation and more seamless care planning, the Pittsburgh-based Blues plan announced Monday.

The platform will harness patient data to more effectively guide them through their care journeys, while also providing more information to providers and members of their clinical team. By personalizing care more effectively, patient outcomes and population health can improve, Highmark said.

The new portal and app are the next evolution of the insurer's broad Living Health strategy, said Karen Hanlon, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Highmark Health, in an interview at the HLTH conference.

"It's an app or web-enabled digital experience that achieves that integrated, personalized, proactive, simpler approach, ultimately putting power in the hands of the consumer to engage more proactively in their healthcare," Hanlon said.

Tracy Saula, senior vice president of product and health experience at Highmark, told Fierce Healthcare that the app is designed to give patients nudges that tell them to check certain features or that they're eligible for certain benefits. For example, a diabetes care management platform may be integrated into My Highmark, but a member may not know they're eligible to use it.

The app will send the patient notifications to keep them better informed of benefits they may not be taking advantage of, she said. 

Saula said League and Google Cloud proved to be the right partners as each has an "obsession" that covers a key element of making My Highmark work. Highmark Health is putting a focus on addressing fragmentation in healthcare and improving outcomes, while Google Cloud has deep expertise in doing analytics in unique and varied ways. League centers consumer experience in its work, a critical piece of the puzzle, she said.

"It really starts to create this connected ecosystem that's facilitated through the data, through the analytics, through the digital tools," Saula said.

Highmark will roll out the app to select members beginning in January. Saula said the company is aiming to continue building out the platform over the next year and could retire its existing app by as early as 2024.

The insurer has partnered with Google Cloud for some time, and it was the tech giant that connected the insurer's team with League. The companies moved quickly to get the project moving thanks to a shared vision, Saula said.

Hanlon said that while developing this type of digital experience was always the plan with Living Health, the insurer knew early on that it could not build out the platform in-house, and it would need to find the right partners to really bring the concept to life.

"Google Cloud and League share a common goal with Highmark Health: move health care from its current state to one that is more integrated, personalized, and easily accessible," said Amy Waldron, global lead, health plan solutions, Google Cloud, in the announcement. "It's through collaborations like these that move the industry and redefine the health care experience for millions at a time."