Comcast and Independence Health Group unite to drive the next stage of healthcare
US media and technology giant Comcast has partnered with growing healthcare business Independence Health Group in a new healthcare initiative. Serving over 8mn US citizens in 24 states, the companies will establish a new patient-centered technology and communications platform to provide operational efficiency within the delivery of patient care between provider and patient.
Guaranteeing increased accessibility, the platform will grant access both at home and on the move, across a number of channels and services.
"Rapid technological advances in recent years have changed the expectations consumers have about accessing and using goods and services. Health care is no exception. Through this collaboration, we will explore how we can best use technology to enhance how consumers access and use health care services, which we know at times can be frustrating," explained Daniel J. Hilferty, Independence President and CEO.
"There is no better place than Philadelphia – a global centre for health care innovation – to launch this partnership. And we believe that we have found the ideal partner in Comcast, which is a global media and technology leader."
Independence is expanding on its commitment to invest in standalone businesses focused on health care innovation. Its collaboration with Comcast will enhance technology, communications, and media capabilities, as well as expertise to best serve patients.
"Comcast's unique experience in technology and content can be an enabler for disruptive, personalised, and media-rich innovations in health care," commented Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer at Comcast.
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"Independence is a company steeped in innovation and completely committed to the consumer experience. We want to use technology to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of patient communications and education."
Independence has a long history of tackling difficult health care challenges through partnerships and investments in scalable, high-impact health care innovations. This includes innovating and funding health care digital initiatives such as Achieve Well-being consumer empowerment solutions; developing value-based care models; and fostering public-private collaborations that improve quality of care, lower costs, and promote health care innovation.
Most recently, Comcast also collaborated on a medically-approved Healthy Aging Series with UC Davis, producing 108 videos on topics including Heart Health, Fitness & Exercise, and Nutrition.
"The way we're viewing it is as a digital health company," Brian Lobley, President of commercial and consumer markets at the Independence Blue Cross division, informed CNBC.
"It's going to be a digital platform that is certainly going to be enabled via the TV, and the Comcast app, but [going] broader than both companies' existing footprint."
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”