January 21, 2021

Volume XI, Number 21

Advertisement

January 21, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

January 20, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

January 19, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Digital Health at Scale: The Payor Perspective

The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed efforts by health insurers to expand reimbursement for telehealth services and digital health tools, and develop and invest in their own digital health technology. Health insurers, who increasingly play a hybrid role of payor, innovator and provider, have a vested interest in helping consumers manage chronic diseases and engage in preventive care from home, both during the public health emergency and after.

Joined by leaders from Humana, Oscar, and Medorion, we discussed the role of health insurers in the evolving digital health market, reimbursement pathways for digital tools and innovative partnerships between technology companies and health insurers. 

PROGRAM INSIGHTS

  • COVID-19 has accelerated the integration of digital health into the traditional health insurance framework. Pre-COVID-19, health insurers were using digital health tools to help their members find providers, access care and manage health conditions. COVID-19 has hastened health plans’ efforts toward vertical integration of digital health technology. Health insurers at the forefront of this effort are focused on creating a consumer-centric, digitally enabled and fully integrated healthcare ecosystem to enhance the member experience, bend the cost curve and carve out an essential (and expanded) role for themselves in the future of healthcare. As consumer behavior continues to change as a result of COVID-19, health insurers will have to be responsive to the way their members are getting care and interacting with the healthcare system.

  • Health insurers are uniquely situated to leverage digital health technologies. Data-driven technology is only as good as the data behind it. Due to the critical role health insurers play in paying for healthcare services, they have insight into member patterns of care and utilization that can be used to target interventions, influence member decision-making and improve health. Investments in digital tools and analytics, as well as strategic partnerships with technology companies, will allow for increased leverage of this valuable data, improved integration of member health information and enhanced member engagement.

  • Interoperability with existing health IT systems is crucial to break down barriers to digital health implementation. Healthcare has been grappling with data interoperability challenges for decades. To scale and make the information from digital tools actionable as part of a larger care plan, digital health platforms must also be interoperable with existing health IT systems. Interoperability will also allow insurers to gather a more complete picture of a member’s longitudinal health data and enable them to better support member health.

  • Health insurers and their legal teams will need to remain nimble amidst the rapidly changing regulatory environment. Keeping up with changing regulations during the COVID-19 public health emergency while planning to scale up in terms of technology implementations is a delicate balance. Though federal, state and local agencies appreciate that digital health tools and telemedicine have much potential in terms of patient care, health insurance companies remain vigilant of privacy and security risks and continue to be constrained in their ability to provide members with devices and other technologies that facilitate access to digital tools.

  • Reimbursement pathways over the lifecycle of the digital tool must be a critical consideration. It is critical that digital health technology developers understand how the technology will be used within the healthcare ecosystem in order to evaluate potential reimbursement pathways that will support development and ongoing operation of the tool. Examples include supporting a health insurer’s care management functions versus providing a direct medical service to members. Developers targeting reimbursement from health insurers should think about the health are regulatory landscape very early in the development process and craft a product that does not require later modifications in order to achieve compliance.

    Advertisement
© 2020 McDermott Will & EmeryNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 233
Advertisement

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS

Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Kate McDonald Health Care Attorney
Associate

Kate McDonald is an associate in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Washington, D.C., office.  She is a member of the Health Industry Advisory Practice Group. 

202-756-8803
Marshall E. Jackson, Jr. Partner  Washington, DC Regulatory, Government & Lobbying Strategies  Healthcare  Digital Health
Partner

Marshall E. Jackson, Jr. focuses his practice on transactional and regulatory counseling for clients in the healthcare industry, as well as advises clients on the legal, regulatory and compliance aspects of digital health.

 

Health Transactions and Regulatory Compliance

Marshall provides counseling and advice to hospitals and health systems, private equity firms and their portfolio companies, post/sub-acute providers, physician practices, and other public and private healthcare companies in a variety of complex transactions and health regulatory...

202-756-8019
Associate

Winnie Uluocha provides a wide range of support to healthcare clients pursuing strategic mergers, acquisitions, affiliations and joint ventures, including the production of due diligence reports covering issues such as physician contracts, service agreements, audit reports, and licensure and accreditation documentation. Winnie also provides statutory and regulatory compliance counseling to health systems, academic medical centers and hospitals. She assists on telehealth and digital health matters, as well.

While in law school, Winnie held a legal internship with the Midwest...

312-276-9637
Advertisement
Advertisement