Anthem to launch Engage, a new digital hub

By Jonah Comstock
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Anthem is launching a new comprehensive digital health platform for members nationwide. The platform, called Engage, comes out of the company's partnership with Castlight Health, which began in 2015. Going forward, it will serve as the foundation for the health plan's digital operations.

"So much is moving into the digital and mobile modalities," Morgan Kendrick, Anthem's head of national accounts, told MobiHealthNews. "The days of outbound telephonic engagement strategies are certainly limited. The population that wants to be reached that way is waning. [Moving toward digital engagement] allows us the opportunity to augment those technologies with machine learning and personalization to create a curated web tool for this person, which creates a greater trust level, which allows efficacy to happen in a different way."

At launch, Engage will include three major functionalities according to Jonna Kurucz, staff VP of Sales.

"The first one is creating a digital hub," she said. "Large accounts often choose to do business with multiple vendors, but that crates complexity for them. We’re able to offer a single-sign on approach across all those benefits."

Second, Engage will allow employers to connect to all of their members, not just those with chronic conditions, for engagement and activation efforts. Machine learning and AI will help plans target particular individuals that might benefit from an intervention. Finally, the web and mobile platform will also include search tools.

"There are opportunities for very basic and straightforward searches for things like urgent care facilities and primary care facilities, and in those instances we’re pulling forward higher quality, lower cost providers, which could have a significant impact on out-of-pocket cost for members and claims costs for their employer," Kurucz said. "So it’s helping members be smarter consumers."

The other benefit of the platform is that it pulls together all the different clinical and wellness tools Anthem offers, from telemedicine, to nurse calls, to fitness tracker-powered wellness programs. 

“With Engage, employees have real-time and convenient access to a wide range of personalized tools needed to help them be better healthcare consumers and, ultimately, healthier people,” Brian Ternan, president of commercial business at Anthem Blue Cross, said in a statement.

Kendrick and Kurucz said the partnership with Castlight started out around the company's core competency of price transparency, but as the relationship developed Anthem decided to lean on Castlight for more than that.

"We had such a favorable experience with them that we decided rather than build it ourselves, we would have a greater ability and speed to market if we had their technology shop behind the scenes to architect the solution," Kurucz said. "So they’re the development shop."

Engage will launch initially to 1 million customers in January. Anthem Blue Cross in California and Colorado will roll it out, as will Anthem’s national accounts business segment.