Humana launches digital health studio, appoints new chief digital and analytics officer

Humana is expanding its health IT footprint, opening a dedicated new center for digital analytics in Boston and adding a new position in its executive suite to oversee digital health initiatives.

The insurer will develop digital health tools at what it has dubbed "Humana Studio H," a new 40,000-square foot center in the Seaport neighborhood of Boston.

This is one of several moves “in support of [Humana’s] integrated care delivery model and its ongoing work to develop differentiated health care experiences,” according to the announcement.

Studio H “can help Humana leap forward and overcome friction points to create a simplified, connected and personalized healthcare experience for our members and the physicians and others who provide their care,” President and CEO Bruce Broussard said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, Heather Cox will lead the venture under the new role of chief digital health and analytics officer. Cox joins Humana from USAA, where she served as chief technology officer for 25 years. Before that, she was CEO of Citi FinTech at Citigroup, Inc., and head of card operations at Capital One.

“Humana’s expansion of its digital health and analytics capabilities can provide a game-changing platform to simplify and streamline the healthcare experience and ultimately improve members’ lifestyles,” Cox said a statement.

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Humana did not indicate what solutions it plans to focus on. But one team at Studio H will specifically focus on products for seniors. That team will be led by Beth Bierbower, Humana’s current segment president focusing on operations and member experience.  

Bierbower says she is “confident that Humana members will appreciate what we come together to develop.”

Both Cox and Bierbower will report to Broussard.

The company expects to hire 250 employees at the center over the next five years. Operating out of Boston will allow Humana to “take advantage of a deep local talent pool and partnerships,” the Louisville-based insurer says.

But Humana will likely face plenty of hiring competition. Just last week, Oscar and Centene indicated they plan to significantly increase their IT workforces.