Blue Shield of California brings Apple Watch to providers

Blue Shield of California and the company’s recently formed health tech and services spinoff, Altais, partnered with Notable Health to bring its natural language processing (NLP) tool for Apple Watch to Blue Shield’s network providers, starting with doctors at Paradise Medical Group.

Expected Share Of US Patients In Value Based Care Programs

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Blue Shield’s Altais was founded with a goal of helping physician practices move toward value-based care (VBC) models — and its partnership with Notable marks one the firm’s first major initiatives to do so. Giving providers a much-needed digital boost could help clear the path for wider VBC adoption in Blue Shield’s provider network. 

Technological barriers have been holding providers back from embracing the shift to VBC: 80% of providers say that their move to VBC has been unsuccessful, and nearly 60% of payers think physicians lack the proper digital tools to find success under VBC.

As such, provider uptake has been slow, with only an estimated 25% of healthcare organizations’ revenue coming from VBC, per a 2018 Optum survey. But large insurers remain bullish on VBC as a way to lower rising costs of care in the US: UnitedHealthcare announced last year that it plans to cover 150 million people under a VBC model by 2025, up from 15 million in 2018, for example. With big-name payers highly invested in VBC’s success, it’s likely we’ll see more of them supply providers with the digital health resources they need to make the switch to VBC.

Notable’s tech allows for quicker, more accurate recording of patient health info — which could help overcome another major hurdle to VBC adoption: EHR woes. Austin-based Regional Medical Clinic announced earlier this summer that its physicians have cut two hours a day of EHR time spend since partnering with Notable. That’s a major improvement considering doctors currently spend over 50% of their day attending to EHRs rather than getting face time with patients — and time spent in EHRs is a major contributorto physician burnout. So, slashing the amount of time doctors spend attending to administrative charting could warm providers to the transition to VBC.

This partnership is also further cementing the Apple Watch as a multiuse, clinical-grade healthcare tool — and we think its profile in the sector is only going to elevate in 2020. The final element in this healthcare troika is the Apple Watch, which will be coming soon to doctors in Blue Shield’s provider network.

And the Watch has been on a streak over the past year, nabbing partnerships with big-name players for a range of use cases: It recently nabbed its first Medicare Advantage coverage agreement from Devoted Health, meaning Devoted members will be able to buy the high-end gadget at a discount in hopes the Watch’s fitness tracking and other health features will lead to reduced claims costs for the young insurtech. So, whether it’s being leveraged for research, clinical documentation, remote patient monitoring, or fitness tracking — we think the Apple Watch is primed for success in the year ahead as a ubiquitous wearable health tech that can save payers and providers money, while boosting patient health outcomes.

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