Insurance giant UnitedHealth has its sights on a new market: electronic health records.
UnitedHealth is preparing to launch a “fully individualized, fully portable” electronic health record in the coming year, CEO David Wichmann said on the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday morning, during which he repeatedly emphasized the company’s digital capabilities as a key to long-term growth.
Details about the product are still thin, but Wichmann said the company plans to leverage its mobile wellness platform Rally to launch a personal health record to the insurer’s 50 million fully benefited members. UnitedHealth has been building out its Rally offering for several years and now has 20 million registered users.
For consumers, the health record will offer a “deeply personal” tool that identifies gaps in care and provides “next best actions” alongside medical data, Wichmann said. UnitedHealth will also target providers with an offering that “looks a little more like their EHR” but includes an element of predictive analytics. With that, UnitedHealth would position itself at the center of interactions between patients and doctors.
“You might imagine what that could ultimately lead to in terms of continuing to develop a transaction flow between physicians and us and the consumer and us,” Wichmann told analysts. “And us being the custodian to try and drive better outcomes for people but also ensure that the highest level of quality is adhered to as defined by evidence-based practices.”
Eventually, the insurer wants to “set the health system around responding to those deeply personal circumstances and situations,” he added.
It’s not the first time Wichmann has hinted at the company’s EHR ambitions. He first raised the prospect during an investor conference last November and hinted at the offering during Bernstein Research’s annual conference in May. But Tuesday marked the first time he provided any substantial details.
Exactly how that personalized record would interact with existing EHR platforms—and whether UnitedHealth would position itself as a competitor with the likes of Cerner and Epic—still isn’t clear. Wichmann declined to provide a specific product launch date but said the company’s goal is to launch by the end of 2019.
A UnitedHealth spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.