Alphabet's Verily seeks collaboration with health insurers
Alphabet’s Verily may move into the health insurance arena, with a focus on population health, and is looking at new hires and partnerships, CNBC reported.
Formerly called Google Life Sciences, Verily is reportedly working with payers in hopes of bidding on joint contracts for population health.
Verily would partner with insurers on the initiatives with the hope of reducing payer healthcare costs. The company would also take on financial risk to reach particular goals.
Anytime a megacompany the size of Alphabet, which is Google’s parent company, looks to move further into healthcare, the industry takes note. In this case, payers could see a potentially valuable population health partner that can help them analyze data to find the costliest members, who are usually chronically ill.
Finding those at-risk members will allow the payer to reach out to the patients and get them the treatment they need before costlier services down the road. Population health initiatives, in theory, can reduce hospitalizations and emergency room (ER) visits.
While payers may welcome a partner like Alphabet, the disruption could keep population health leaders up at night. Population health is an already crowded field full of companies that view care coordination as a way to lower costs and improve quality and outcomes. There are also barriers in the population health field, including how to quantify and monetize health information.
Verily's move is the latest healthcare initiative involving Alphabet. Earlier this week, a study in Nature Biomedical Engineering reported that Verily and Alphabet researchers found a way to predict a person’s cardiovascular risk factors by using eye scans (it has yet to be clinically tested). Late last year, Google also launched Deep Variant, an open source tool that uses artificial intelligence to create a picture of a person’s genetic blueprint using sequencing data.
Alphabet isn't the only major business looking to move further into healthcare. Apple is opening health clinics for employees in California this spring. Also, in January, Apple announced it is making personal health records accessible on its latest iPhones. The company is also looking to add medical applications to its Apple Watch.
Another big name looking to increase healthcare efforts, Amazon, announced a company with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway last month. The company will focus on improving healthcare quality and costs for their U.S. employees. Amazon is also expanding efforts to provide hospitals with medical supplies.
All of these major companies see potential in the healthcare industry in different ways. Any of them could cause disruption, but whether they will make a dent remains to be seen.
What I’m fascinated by as big tech marches into health is the extent to which each company is playing to its core strengths/competencies.— Christina Farr (@chrissyfarr) February 27, 2018
Amazon & medical supply chain ✅
Apple & consumer health/wellness ✅
Alphabet & all things health data ✅