What Will Humana's New Analytics Center Tackle?

Humana will hire as many as 250 people to staff an analytics center in Boston, but the company is still nailing down the details.

Insurance giant Humana says it will launch a digital health and analytics division in Boston, Massachusetts, but the company is staying mum on what exactly the center will develop.

The nation’s fourth largest private medical insurer, Humana plans to employ as many as 250 people at its new “Studio H” facility. Employees will focus on “technology, digital health and analytics,” the company said. Studio H will be led by Heather Cox, who is being appointed to a newly created position of chief digital health and analytics officer. She will report directly to Humana CEO Bruce Broussard.

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Cox previously was chief technology and digital officer at the financial services company USAA.

“Digital technology and analytics are building blocks for devising products, tools and services that deliver on the promise of whole-person healthcare, and Heather Cox has the experience, vision and drive to innovate and boldly lead Humana’s efforts in these important areas,” Broussard said in a statement.

Mark Mathis, a spokesman for Humana, declined to elaborate on what types of products Studio H would be developing.

“[Cox] is in the process of assembling her leadership team and getting acclimated, which is why it’s too early to speculate on exactly what projects might emerge from Studio H,” he told Healthcare Analytics News™.

However, the company did say one part of Studio H will be focused on developing products aimed at senior citizens.

“We understand that where lifestyle and healthcare intersect, there is an opportunity to influence health and well-being in a holistic way — especially for seniors,” Broussard said.

Humana is leasing 40,000 square feet of office space in Boston’s Seaport District to house the studio. The location will give Humana’s analytics team access to some of the top healthcare and computer engineering minds and resources in the country.

In announcing the new center, Humana is joining a steady stream of insurers looking to navigate the emerging digital health landscape.

Pennsylvania’s Independence Health Group, the parent company of Independence Blue Cross, announced a partnership earlier this year with the cable giant Comcast to develop a mobile health platform.

Meanwhile, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York last year unveiled a wellness app that offers digital health assessments and personalized health plans. The MyHealth app was developed with the digital health software startup Welltok.

While MyHealth is billed as a service for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York’s customers, its features — including discounts on gyms, wellness plans and healthcare pricing information — could end up saving the insurer money, either by improving patients’ health or giving them access to information that could make them more efficient consumers of healthcare.

For now, Cox said, Studio H’s yet-to-be-announced products and services will be patient-focused.

“American healthcare can be enormously complex, but Humana’s expansion of its digital health and analytics capabilities can provide a game-changing platform to simplify and streamline the healthcare experience and ultimately improve members’ lifestyles by enhancing the quality of their healthcare,” she said.

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