LifeBridge, CareFirst Debut New Incubator for Health Startups in Baltimore

LifeBridge Health system and Healthworx, the innovation and investment arm of health insurer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, have debuted a new startup incubator near Baltimore, Md.

The incubator, called 1501 Health, takes its name from its home address. It aims to provide access to expertise and resources from both the health care provider and insurance sides of the industry. Companies selected to participate in the incubator program will receive up to $100,000 in investment, along with mentorship and support from experts within LifeBridge and CareFirst. They will also participate in networking and educational events with other startups, investors and stakeholders. Read More: BizJournals


Thrasys, Inc., a Subsidiary of UpHealth Holdings, Inc., Accelerates Technology Innovation with New Release of SyntraNet Integrated Care

Thrasys, Inc. (“Thrasys”), a subsidiary of UpHealth Holdings, Inc., today announced the release of Version 4.0 of SyntraNet Integrated Care, the company’s advanced technology platform to share information, coordinate care, and manage health for individuals with complex medical, behavioral health, and social conditions.

The new version of SyntraNet will go-live at L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest public health plan delivering services and managing health for over 2.4 million individuals in Los Angeles County with multiple lines of business. L.A. Care Health Plan has successfully completed acceptance testing of the new version of SyntraNet for a rollout of a first phase of functionality. Read More:

Telehealth is Dialing up the Dollars

As the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed much of life — including healthcare — in a digital, virtual direction, companies that provide telehealth services have prospered, raking in major investments in initial public offerings (IPOs). Telehealth provider Amwell raised $742 million in September 2020, after bumping up both the number of shares it planned to sell and its price because of strong demand, while GoodRx, which helps consumers find deals on prescription drug prices and has a telehealth operation, raised $1.1 billion with a stock price well above what was initially anticipated. The following month, telehealth giant Teladoc Health completed its $18.5 billion merger with Livongo, a digital health company that helps patients monitor chronic conditions.

Already this year, the healthcare sector has seen almost $30 billion in merger activity, with more than half coming from Teladoc and Livongo. The activity already exceeds the previous five years, according to Brian O’Rourke, senior analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence. Read More: ManagedCare Executive

New Cigna Study Shows Integrated Medical, Pharmacy and Behavioral Benefit Design Delivers Better Health Outcomes and Improves Affordability

Taking a whole-person approach to health by integrating Cigna medical, pharmacy and behavioral benefits drives better health engagement, outcomes and lowers total health care costs, according to Cigna’s fifth annual Value of Integration study, released today. This year’s findings are based on a two-year analysis of more than 2.2 million customer medical claims from Cigna customers who receive coverage through their employer.

The study shows that employers with Cigna’s integrated medical, pharmacy and comprehensive behavioral benefits continue to see meaningful savings in total medical costs, as compared to those with standalone medical and pharmacy coverage. According to the study, on average, Cigna clients recognized savings of $227 annually per customer1.  For individuals identified as having a health improvement opportunity, average cost savings increase to $4,741 annually per customer. Read More: CIGNA

Revel + NovuHealth Become Icario

Revel + NovuHealth today announced the launch of its new name and brand, Icario (“ih-car-ee-oh”). The new brand represents the combined business of two market leaders that merged in October 2020. Icario creates value by uniting pioneering technology, data science, and behavioral insights to make the world a healthier place, one person at a time. Icario’s technology and services currently support more than 50 leading healthcare payers, including seven of the ten largest health plans in the United States.

Icario currently helps more than 10 million health plan members per month take health actions that drive better outcomes. Icario’s expanded data analytics, adaptive multi-channel platform, and behavioral insights allow health plan customers to connect with their members in a highly personalized way. Icario’s deep expertise in Medicare and Medicaid — supporting critical quality, satisfaction and outcome measures that drive plan performance — enables the company to partner with innovative health plans and risk bearing entities to accelerate innovation and growth. Read More: HealthCareDive

Incentives and information drive health care innovation: lessons from Medicare Advantage

Health care in America often feels like it moves at a glacial pace, if that fast. Case in point: fax machines remain indispensable as a way of transferring information. On a larger scale, the U.S. health care system still struggles with readmissions, medication adherence, chronic disease outcomes, and more. True innovation is rare.

But every so often a crack in the ice occurs that leads to rapid change. Sometimes legislative action is the trigger. The Affordable Care Act and the HITECH Act sparked lots of innovation and startup activity. As we look to 2021, though, the odds of a split or Republican-controlled Senate are high and so the likelihood of major innovative legislative change is low.

In the absence of legislative or regulatory decree, we believe that two requirements — aligned economic incentives and the availability of data and information — can trigger bursts of innovation in our super complicated, fragmented, highly regulated, and archaic health care system. Without these two, not much happens. Read More: StatNews

Humana Healthy Horizons™ in Kentucky Selects Vida Health for Virtual Diabetes Management

The new partnership, which will launch in January of 2021, allows eligible individuals access to Vida’s group diabetes coaching, in-app peer group support, digital therapeutics for diabetes and co-occurring chronic conditions, and more to help them manage their diabetes and their whole health.

“Humana has a long history in Kentucky of finding innovative ways to provide high-quality care for those we serve,” said Jeb Duke, Regional Vice President at Humana, Executive Director Kentucky Medicaid. “With Vida’s virtual diabetes management program, we’re expanding our virtual support services for the community and offering a new, modern way for our members to receive best-in-class, evidence-based care.” Read More: Valdosta Daily Times

Highmark Health Inks 6-year Strategic Partnership with Google Cloud to Tap AI, Analytics Technologies

Highmark Health and Google Cloud announced a six-year strategic partnership to use cloud, analytics and artificial intelligence technologies to power the organization’s digital health initiatives.

Pittsburgh-based Highmark Health plans to use Google Cloud’s technology muscle to be the innovation engine behind its Living Health model, which is designed to provide a more coordinated, personalized, technology-enabled experience for patients, the organization said. Read More: Fierce Healthcare

Innovation 101: How to Secure Innovators’ Engagement During a Pandemic

I’m having many conversations with ideators, innovation teams, chief data officers, chief innovation officers, and product design teams about how to secure high engagement levels while everyone works from home, leaving corporate innovation labs and centers orphaned. In my honest opinion, this is a real challenge!

Innovation workers require connecting with teammates to collaborate on creative ideas, to both give and get immediate feedback, to feel team spirit, and to celebrate joint achievements. This is hard to do with coworkers in home offices, connected by a laptop only.

Nevertheless, some tools can help you approach pre-pandemic engagement levels: Read More: ZDNet

UPMC Partnership Expands Chronic Disease Medication Adherence

UPMC Health Plan and Sempre Health’s medication adherence collaboration has expanded its chronic disease management benefits to include diabetes medicines for members of UPMC’s employer-sponsored health plans.

Since the program’s launch in 2017, members have collectively saved over $500,000 on cardiovascular medications, with the average member saving $33 per prescription refill through SMS message discounts.

The natural language processing SMS reminders and conversations with members have resulted in increased patient engagement by fostering a personalized and concierge-style experience for those enrolled in the program. Read More: HealthPayer Intelligence