At Anthem, we are deeply focused on building a future where healthcare is affordable, accessible, personalized and simple. With the enormous impact of COVID-19, we know many things have changed and will continue to change. At the same time, we also know that the key to making it through these challenging times is adapting and taking action to meet consumer needs.
However, a complex healthcare system is an obstacle to achieve that goal. So how do we eliminate some of this complexity? How do we ensure consumers have access to the care they need? And how do we also make healthcare simpler for all involved?
We believe the answer lies within building and offering digital healthcare services and solutions through a platform approach.
Platforms have revolutionized many industries in recent years. A decade ago, the top 10 global companies by market value were a mix of energy and technology companies. Now, seven of the top 10 global companies utilize platform approaches.
With COVID-19, our platform gave us the ability to act quickly. We’ve been able to introduce digital services that help consumers assess their risk for the virus, connect with a healthcare provider virtually and identify testing sites—all of which are important in flattening the curve. We’re also collaborating with technology companies and health experts on a public utility that gives government officials, healthcare providers, and community leaders tools to make informed decisions.
So, what is a platform approach? Companies that utilize a platform establish a core service and then expand to provide new solutions and offerings that align with their core business. They have several key components:
- Platforms attract both users and service providers
- They create an infrastructure where the exchange of goods and services can happen
- They work to ensure that the right users and companies are matched
- They are data-driven and allow all parties to have access to the same data to make decisions
Well-known examples of companies that leverage the platform approach include on-demand ride sharing services that began by arranging rides but now coordinate other services including food delivery and scooters. There is also the online retailer that uses its platform to offer a wide range of services, including video and music streaming, a marketplace, web services and smart devices. By bringing services that consumers want into one place, these companies make it easier for consumers to get what they need—making their platforms a desired destination.
Platforms to Simplify Healthcare
The healthcare system today includes many different systems all working to serve the consumer. But in reality, it’s not as simple as that. The consumer has to manage many touchpoints, leading to potential frustration.
By taking a platform-centric approach to offering digital-first healthcare solutions and services, we believe we can deliver a simpler healthcare experience that gives consumers the services they need, when and where they need it. This approach also enables us to make it easier for healthcare providers to care for their patients.
For example, imagine Beth, a member of one of Anthem’s affiliated health plans, was recently diagnosed with diabetes. A platform approach would coordinate a number of activities to help Beth and her care team better manage her newly diagnosed condition. When Beth’s doctor updates her medical record, the provider care management system will flag any care gaps related to diabetes, such as not having recent blood work or annual eye exam. The platform also sends Beth a notification on how her health insurance company can help and offers her the ability to have a live chat consultation with her care team. Throughout her health journey, the digital platform’s predictive analytics continues to monitor Beth’s unique situation, ready to trigger appropriate interventions as she manages her health.
Shaping the Future Healthcare Experience
As we look toward the future of healthcare, we think taking the platform approach will allow us to help people improve their health and wellbeing. We can do this by influencing the healthcare landscape and shaping the healthcare experience as new and innovative solutions emerge.
We will be in a better position to adopt new technologies, such as remote smart sensors, which can help consumers better manage their health. We will also be able to leverage genomics to help personalize treatment regimens.
Anthem’s vision is to be the most innovative, valuable and inclusive partner in addressing the challenges facing healthcare today. While we may not be able to predict the future, we know that taking a platform approach to our digital capabilities puts us in a better position to improve the lives of those we serve.