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February 28, 2018

Google's sister company wants to take on population health, CNBC reports

Daily Briefing

    Verily, Google's sister company, is eyeing entering the population health management industry, sources told CNBC's Christina Farr.

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    Verily's possible move into the population health market follows Amazon's recently announced collaboration with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan Chase to launch a health care company that will initially serve their 1.2 million U.S. employees, CNBC reports.

    Verily's plans

    Three sources familiar with Verily's plans told CNBC that the company has been in discussions with insurers about making joint bids for contracts involving population health management. One source explained that Verily in 2016 considered collaborating with Oscar Health on one such contract for Rhode Island residents, decided against it, and is now reconsidering other plans to enter the population health market.

    According to CNBC, Verily this month listed four job openings for positions that entail managing at-risk patient populations. It's looking for a health plan executive with at least 15 years of experience working with health insurers, as well as experience with health data aggregation and population health management. Related positions the company is looking to fill include a "physician lead" with experience managing "risk for patient populations" and a "managed care analytics lead" to "manage risk for patient populations," CNBC reports. In addition, the company last year hired a former senior manager from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, according to CNBC.

    A Verily spokesperson declined to comment to CNBC.

    Why Verily could be considering the population health market

    Technology companies might be enticed into the population health market because it requires aggregating and analyzing large troves of health information—but doesn't require acquiring or launching an insurance company, CNBC reports.

    According to CNBC, Verily might have access to a large amount of patient data because of a partnership with 3M, announced in October 2016, that aims to "promote real and sustainable improvements in health care quality and cost," CNBC reports. Verily at the time said it hoped to work with health systems, hospitals, regulators, and insurers.

    Verily also has been gathering patient health information through a clinical research study called Project Baseline, CNBC reports. Verily describes that endeavor as a "map and compass, pointing the way to disease prevention." Meanwhile, another Alphabet company, Sidewalk Labs, incubated an initiative geared toward improving care for low-income communities (Spitzer, Becker's Hospital Review, 2/27; van Romburgh, Silicon Valley Business Journal, 2/27; Farr, CNBC, 2/27).

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