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May 4, 2018

Comcast wants to bring a health care 'platform' to your TV—and it's hoping Amazon comes along for the ride

Daily Briefing

    Comcast last month announced that it is partnering with Independence Health Group to create a new consumer-facing health care platform aimed at improving health care delivery. The move marks the telecommunication company's first formal foray into the health care sector, CNBC reports.

    Details on the partnership

    The joint venture between Comcast and Independence, the parent company of Independence Blue Cross, will start with a pilot program in Philadelphia, where both companies are headquartered. Brian Lobley, president of commercial and consumer markets at Independence Blue Cross, said the pilot will allow patients to access information about their health care experience "via the TV, and the Comcast app."

    According to Lobley, the pilot will focus on "people who are experiencing a health … condition or procedure," like knee surgery, and "digitize" their care experience. He said, "There's pre-op, post-op recovery, during that time sometimes the patient is on a follow-up medication … what we're looking to do is take that experience, that itinerary that person follows and digitize it."

    Daniel Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence, said that this partnership will attempt to "use technology to enhance how consumers access and use health care services, which we know at times can be frustrating."

    According to CNBC, the pilot will be run as a 50/50 joint venture, and the companies in second half of 2019 plan to launch an independent firm that could expand the pilot nationally.

    Comcast's entrance into the health care market comes as companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Google are also making moves into the industry, CBNC reports. Comcast said that it plans to develop an open platform, which would allow companies like Amazon to add new features.

    Lobley said, "We definitely think that (with) the assets that Amazon has—they obviously know how to control a consumer experience—there could be great synergies for us to have a solution that could complement their services" (Coombs, CNBC, 4/19; Spitzer, Becker's Health IT & CIO Report, 4/19).

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