Health IT, Payers, Health Tech

Anthem, K Health, Blackstone launch digital health company

The new joint venture will bring K Health’s artificial intelligence-driven technology to the consumer, employer and insurer markets. The solution enables patients to understand their symptoms and connect with a doctor if needed.

phone, text, texting, cell phone, smartphoneAnthem has partnered with digital health startup K Health and funds managed by investment firm Blackstone to launch a technology-focused joint venture.

The financial terms of the venture launch were not disclosed.

Called Hydrogen Health, the joint venture will bring K Health’s artificial intelligence-driven technology to the consumer, employer and insurer markets, said K Health CEO Allon Bloch, in a phone interview. Bloch will also serve as CEO of Hydrogen Health.

New York City-based K Health provides a symptom checker capability that leverages AI to give users information about their health. Initially, the technology offered a free application with the aim of combating the often inconsistent and inaccurate health information available online.

Then, two years ago, K Health added a service layer, where, for a fee, users can connect with a medical professional.

“You get medical advice, you get diagnoses, you get treatment, you get prescriptions, you get labs,” Bloch said.

In 2019, Indianapolis-based Anthem and K Health struck a partnership where they launched a co-branded app to help Anthem members understand their symptoms and allow them to message doctors.

“Our stakeholders expect us to find innovative solutions to increase access to high-quality care, enhance the healthcare experience, and help lower costs,” said Amy Mulderry, senior vice president and chief development officer at Anthem, in an email. “As part of this approach, we focus on investments and partnerships like this one that leverage exponential technologies, such as artificial intelligence.”

Now, through Hydrogen Health, the companies are offering those digital health capabilities to consumers, employers and other insurers. The solution — which will focus on providing access to primary care — can be offered as part of customers’ own platforms or via K Health’s standalone app.

Further, the technology can be integrated across different health plans.

Anthem’s involvement brings both funding and a wealth of healthcare industry knowledge to the new venture, K Health’s Bloch said.

“They’ve got 43 million members across multiple segments,” he said. “They’ve got tremendous know-how around how to offer medical networks — from a claims perspective, from a care navigation perspective — to different segments.”

Together, Anthem, K Health and Blackstone hope to be able to offer technology that can simplify healthcare access and help reduce costs, Bloch said.

A little over three months into 2021 and K Health is already having a busy year. In January, the company announced it had raised $132 million in funding, which will be used to expand its platform for pediatric patients.

Photo: diego_cervo, Getty Images