Humana’s Blueprint for Creating Whole-Person Digital Health Experiences

by Scott Whyte
Advisory Board Member

I recently had the great opportunity to introduce Humana leaders at a session in this year’s HIMSS Cloud Computing Forum. I’m inspired by this session and I want to share a few observations that may also inspire you as this remarkable company I am proud to call a customer reaches new heights in innovating healthcare.

The session included Humana’s EDGE CTO Jeff Hawkins and their head of Digital Health & Analytics Center, Antonio Melo, as well as Google Cloud’s Aashima Gupta.

The theme of the presentation was “A Blueprint for Creating Whole-Person Digital Health Experiences,” and that’s what I’m excited about – this whole-person approach to health using digital technologies to break down silos, increase engagement and personalize the experience for patients.

As the father of four, three of whom are Type I diabetics, I want medical care to be as personalized as possible, and I think the work Humana is doing on the Google Cloud Platform is going to build value in the experiences their members have.

I opened the session with a quote from Humana CEO Bruce Broussard, saying: “What we’re developing in Boston is a critical capability that can help Humana leap forward and overcome friction points to create a simplified, connected and personalized health care experience for our members and those who provide their care.”

What Bruce is speaking about is highlighted in this press release. Humana is building a digital health and analytics center in Boston called Studio H to enhance product design capabilities that will allow for next-generation products to be placed in the hands of Humana customers. The result will be integrated care delivery with a user-friendly interface for patients/members. Additionally, Jeff and Antonio highlighted how Humana is leveraging Blue Button 2.0 and other sources of consumer mediated data to create new products and services.

I like the way Jeff framed it. He said so many of us are used to sitting in our homes, pulling out our phones, iPads or laptops and ordering whatever we want. Frequently we have to provide very little information or go through very few steps to begin and complete the transaction. While complex transactions are happening behind the monitor, all the customer sees is: ‘You liked these socks last time. Want more?” Click and ship. Jeff attests to the need to create a world where anyone receiving healthcare gets to enjoy the same ease of service without having to navigate multiple interfaces that often don’t even speak the same language as the consumers.

With the new digital solutions, Humana will be offering members an omni-channel experience, from chat to mobile to digital assistance right in their homes. From requesting prescription refills to speaking with a nurse or practitioner, he wants to do the hard work below the line of visibility to create a more vertically integrated healthcare experience – not just modernizing data silos – so Humana can provide easy access and navigation to consumers while also utilizing the benefits of native cloud APIs, big data, AI and machine learning and more, to use the data to improve patient outcomes and better understand the social determinants of health in order to prevent disease from advancing.

Some of the early beneficiaries of this work are the droves of digital savvy seniors opting into Medicare Advantage, where Humana is working with the Google Cloud Platform and ClearDATA to securely drive innovation and improve the experience for the consumer. These seniors will be enjoying a customer/patient centric experience that they have not experienced in healthcare prior to this, and they stand to benefit.

Healthcare should be personalized, and it should be user-friendly, engaging and inviting. When we do that, the patient gains a sense of ownership over their health that in fact, stands to improve their outcomes and the quality of their life.

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