Aside from health care consumers and providers, nobody may be more affected by technology in health care than the health insurance companies and other third-party payers of health care. To that end, they are making significant investments directly into health care IoT (Internet of Things) technology companies, and other digital health care players such as application developers.
According to an article by Nancy Crotti in MedCity News, health insurance companies have invested almost a billion dollars directly into digital health startups in the last five years. Some motivation for this investment has come from the changes in the landscape caused by Obamacare, or The Affordable Care Act, but much more attention has been paid to the use of technology platforms to enhance healthcare delivery.
Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia has directly invested roughly $25 million in companies that innovate in the patient care and health care data analytics areas; companies like Accolade, a company that uses technology to enable and provide health assistants helping patients navigate the healthcare landscape.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, through it’s Zaffre entity, has invested $4 million in diabetes care technology company Livongo, that uses a real-time glucose meter connected to mobile data networks monitoring a diabetic patient’s blood sugar and transmitting status to care providers, family, and even friends, per the patient’s wishes.
Payers know that these technology enablers can both reduce healthcare costs and improve patient care outcomes and wellness at the same time. And after all, insurance companies have a mandate to make wise investments with raised premiums, so why not make those investments in companies that provide innovative care and service? This creates a virtuous cycle that and simultaneously drives costs down, improve patient health outcomes, and make health care administration vastly more efficient.