Payers, Artificial Intelligence

Highmark, Lark Health extend collaboration

The expanded partnership increases the number of Highmark health plan members eligible for enrollment in Lark Health’s AI-driven health coaching programs aimed at managing and preventing chronic diseases.

Insurer Highmark and Lark Health, a provider of chronic disease prevention and management services, have expanded their collaboration to make the company’s digital health coaching programs accessible to more beneficiaries.

As part of the expanded collaboration, Highmark’s employer group customers in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia, as well as commercial National group customers, will have access to Lark’s programs and its platform, Julia Hu, co-founder and CEO of Lark Health, said in an email.

Lark Health offers digital programs to manage and prevent diabetes and hypertension. It also offers behavioral health coaching to help people manage mental health issues and implement lifestyle changes.

Those who enroll in the programs gain access to Lark Health’s artificial intelligence-driven platform, which can communicate with them through text messages. The platform monitors users remotely via devices like blood pressure cuffs and glucose monitors, and connects them to live nurses and health coaches when needed.

“Our goal is to help Highmark scale personalized chronic conditions management and prevention programs by providing personalized, on-demand health coaching with outcomes similar to in-person programs, but at a lower cost,” said Hu. “We do that through our use of conversational AI to scale personalized care.”

“In a time when six in 10 U.S. adults have a chronic disease, while four in 10 have two or more, it’s important for health plans to have offerings that meet their members where they are — on their smartphones — to help them manage them,” she added.

The company and insurer initially collaborated in 2019. Since then, they have worked to identify and reach out to members currently managing or at-risk of developing chronic conditions who may benefit from enrolling in Lark’s programs. Expanding the collaboration increased the number of health plan members eligible for Lark’s programs by about 30%, Hu said.

“We’re so proud that more and more Highmark members are enrolling in our innovative offerings like Lark that help them take control of their health,” said Ben Edelshain, vice president of clinical engagement and digital innovation for Highmark, in a press release.

In addition, as more people are managing their health virtually amid the Covid-19 pandemic, “there’s a much bigger opportunity to provide people tools they can use 24/7 to manage their health — not just having to wait for the doctor visit to stay on top of their medications, diet and other parts of their care plan,” Hu said.

In early November, Lark Health closed a $55 million Series C funding round as well as a $15 million venture debt credit facility. The company said it planned to use the new funds to further partnerships with telehealth providers and commercial payers.

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