Will Payers Lead Digital Health?
HealthLeaders Media: You've got a whole bunch of other people here at CES showing technology to help people get healthy. They're all cranking out data, and the patients might be UnitedHealth customers, they might be Kaiser customers. Who knows where they are. But how do you know which patient you're dealing with, whether you have the same patient in your system twice? We don't in this country have a national patient identifier. This seems like a big issue.
Tuckson: I think it is obviously good to have tools to help you to be precise, but we are not intimidated now by the challenge and ability to know enough about unique people to give them back information that's reliable and trustworthy. We're operating at massive scale with very granular information about people, and we have not faced an overwhelming hurdle in that regard.
HealthLeaders Media: How many million do you serve?
Tuckson: At least 35 million people insured, and 75 million touched in one way or another. We feel pretty good about that.
HealthLeaders Media: My sense is that payers have it under control better than the providers do.
Tuckson: I think we may well. But I'll tell you what I'm excited about is, we're now being able to not only accumulate information about the person, claims, pharmacy, and labs, but we're also including health risk assessments, biometry, data from care management, and care coaching. We're also getting closer to really being able to meaningfully include EMR data and health information exchange data. What boggles the mind for a non-propeller head is that there are these people in companies like ours who have the ability to smash together these very disparate data sets and make sense out of them. So I think we're probably much less anxious about some of the hurdles and more positive about what we're able to produce.
Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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