How Anthem is driving IT change with its Innovation Studio

Anthem opened its Innovation Studio last May and has already found success with its approach. (Business Wire)

A consumer-focused approach drives much of the work inside Anthem’s Innovation Studio, which opened about a year ago and has already produced results.

Some of the Innovation Studio’s early successes have focused on enrollee engagement and satisfaction, Chief Information Officer Tom Miller told Forbes in an interview. "We need to continue to think of a consumer of healthcare as the center of our business," he said.

Tom Miller

The studio opened in May 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia, to offer a collaborative space that would foster creativity and innovation. Its team focuses on testing and piloting ideas that can drive down healthcare costs and improve the customer experience, and it also takes advantage of access to the Georgia University of Technology for research.

The first project, titled Dynamic Video Creation, allows Anthem to personalize welcome messages to new enrollees. People that sign up for Anthem health plans will receive an email that links them to a video, which is created the moment the customer clicks the link. The video addresses them and their benefits package specifically. Thus far, the response from new enrollees has been “fantastic,” Miller said.

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The Innovation Studio has also developed other digital tools that have gotten a warm response from enrollees, Miller said. Anthem now offers mobile bill payment, which allows people to pay premiums and copays from their cellphones, and tools that can monitor care gaps, including apps that would send medication or appointment alerts to people on their smartphones or smartwatches.

Anthem’s focus on information technology innovation extends to providers as well, Miller said, as they constitute another key consumer base for insurers. They may not be the ultimate consumer that Anthem targets, Miller said, but collaboration with providers is essential in driving innovation.

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