Walmart taps digital health for its 2020 employee benefits, SilverCloud Health explores AI with Microsoft and more digital health deals

Also: OptimizeRx delivers messaging through NewCrop's electronic prescription software; Novo Nordisk expands collaboration with Noom following strong pilot; Livongo signs its biggest payer yet.
By Dave Muoio
Share

Walmart’s 2020 healthcare plan for its retail associates will have some new features courtesy of partnerships with digital and remote health companies.

For starters, those in the Northwest Arkansas, Orlando/Tampa and Dallas/Fort Worth areas will be provided with a “Featured Providers” tool driven by healthcare data firm Embold Health. With this, associates will receive suggestions for local, affordable providers in one of eight specialties, while Walmart itself will be using these data to identify physicians that consistently demonstrate effective care.

Meanwhile, North Carolina and South Carolina employees will test out a healthcare concierge service built in partnership with Grand Rounds. This web, phone and app-based tool will also help users seek out an appropriate provider, and additionally assist users with billing, condition education, transportation and child care during an appointment.

Finally, those in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin can choose to participate in a telemedicine program that provides virtual care for $4 per visit. This service is an expands on an existing telehealth service conducted by the retailer, and furthers its relationships with Doctor On Demand, Grand Rounds and HealthSCOPE Benefits.


SilverCloud Health has announced an AI research collaboration with Microsoft. The digital mental health company is hoping to use machine learning to fine tune the person-to-person care of its online platform, as well as to identify the most effective therapist or coach behaviors.

“SilverCloud Health is one of the very few digital mental health platforms that has been deployed at scale in routine clinical care, and currently has the largest real-world patient user base of its kind,” Christopher Bishop, lab director for Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK, said in a statement. “The aim of this project is very much aligned to our ambition to empower healthcare workers and patients through access to effective, intelligent technologies.” 


OptimizeRx, a software company that enables digital health messaging between pharmas and providers, has expanded its relationship with integrated electronic prescription company NewCrop with a new three-year deal that will bring the former’s messages to a network of more than 65,000 healthcare workers. In addition to delivering the communications within the providers’ workflow, the companies will also be building an “Innovation Lab” with which OptimizeRx’s life science partners can better experiment and test their digital communications.

“We’ve seen tremendous success through our previous programs with NewCrop,” Miriam Paramore, president and chief strategy officer at OptimizeRx, said in a statement. “Their point-of-prescribing access to healthcare providers is a great match with our digital platform and has allowed us to offer our pharma partners unmatched efficiency in marketing spends.”


Following a successful eight-month pilot program, Novo Nordisk and Noom, a behavior change startup focused on nutrition and chronic care, will be collaborating on new tools for weight management and education.

"We've worked with the Novo Nordisk team for over a year and have engaged with over 4,000 people with obesity,” Saeju Jeong, CEO and cofounder of Noom, said in a statement. “We're enthused by the exciting feedback and know that by jointly testing and refining what works, we will continue to deliver much-needed, sustainable solutions and support, as part of a scientific, insight-driven treatment plan.”


Chronic care management company Livongo has inked a deal with the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, giving federal employees insured by the government with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes access to the digital program. 

The Livongo for Diabetes tool will be open to those insured under the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee program, which covers roughly 5.3 million people. Users will be able to access the management tool, which gives users personalized insights into their condition and access to diabetes support coaches. The company expects this deal to increase its membership by 45,000 in 2021. 

This is Livongo’s largest agreement to provide diabetes services in our history and is another great example of the market’s excitement about our Applied Health Signals platform and how our business is expanding from working primarily with self-insured employers, to broader and larger markets including government employees, labor unions, and the fully-insured populations of our health plan partners,” Livongo CEO Zane Burke said in a statement.