Anthem Views on Digital Health

Credit Suisse, an international financial organization, recently talked to Rajeev Ronanki Anthem’s Senior Vice President & Chief Digital Officer, about the company’s thoughts and ideas on their digital capabilities, telemedicine platform, payment integrity, CareSpree App, blockchain use cases plus more.

Anthem started by bringing up the idea as to whether it is better to invest in digital capabilities by building internally or to partner. Mr. Ronanki notes that Anthem is building a digital platform through both internal investments but also by partnering with a number of other companies.

However Anthem prefers to outsource to partners any functionality that is necessary but is not really strategic in nature. It is often cheaper and faster for a company to leverage specialized services from vendors than to recreate solution in house. The goal is to bring more digital health solutions such as payment integrity in-house over time.

Anthem with American Well have launched their telehealth service “LiveHealth Online”. The service was initially launched to assist large-local and national employers, but was later expanded to the majority of Anthem’s health plan customers. Through the joint venture structure, the two companies created a telehealth network to enable the same process of state certification as other provider networks.

This “LiveHealth Online” technology is part of the overall pitch to employers as a piece of the end-to-end healthcare solution. Today, in the majority of cases, employers are using “LiveHealth Online”, but the company is willing to work with a third party to incorporate their telemedicine if an employer chooses to do so.

Anthem is quite optimistic about selling their telemedicine capabilities to the Medicare Advantage population. The thinking is that baby boomers aging into Medicare are as digitally savvy as millennials. However, Anthem plans to move a lot of their digital capabilities from apps to other more user friendly channels such as television.

Discussion took place concerning the CareSpree App which enables faster access to personalized health information and treatment options. Members will be able to use the app to text a doctor by using the functionality developed by tech start-up K Health

To use the CareSpree App, patients first triage their symptoms using artificial intelligence to get a likely diagnosis, then they can text a doctor or schedule either a telemedicine or physical appointment since the app is able to tell the consumer which doctors are in network and the costs associated with that doctor. Lastly, the patient can pay using the app.

The pilots are testing triaging, virtual visits, and telemedicine separately and then all of the capabilities will be integrated before rolling out to all users. The CareSpree App will first be rolled out in Indiana and then based on the learnings from the pilots, the app will be released throughout the U.S.

The company believes that there are opportunities around applying blockchain technology to healthcare. Anthem is working with  to leverage blockchain for virtual clinical trials or virtual data trials. Through the partnership, the company is collecting data from patients on chronic issues to better understand what triggered the issues.

The company then uses the data to provide information to others specific to these chronic issues. The technology records all the events of the patient’s day on the blockchain, and at this point, the consumer can make the decision to share the data or not as they see fit.

Another example of Anthem’s partnerships around blockchain is the “Health Utility Network” created through a partnership with PNC Bank, HCSC, and IBM. The network is built on a blockchain-based platform for use cases that require multiparty collaboration. The objective for the network is to create an inclusive blockchain network that will benefit multiple members of the healthcare ecosystem in a highly secure shared environment.

For more information or to provide feedback contact Research Analyst Jailendra Singh at or call 212-325-8121.

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