Anthem appoints former Google executive to its AI division
As the healthcare sector continues to explore new technologies to drive patient satisfaction and lower healthcare costs, insurer Anthem has appointed Udi Manber to its artificial intelligence division, CNBC has reported.
Following on from its partnership with blockchain-based company doc.ai, Manber will develop a new AI engineering team. With previous experience engineering Google’s essential search products, as well as holding senior roles at Amazon and Yahoo, Manber is well placed to transform Anthem’s healthcare efforts through the use of data science, enabling Anthem to attract and retain its market share amidst growing competition from start-ups, such as Oscar Health.
"It seems like both an offensive and defensive move," commented Ari Gottlieb, principal at A2 Strategy Group. "It suggests that they won't want to lose customers to rival health plans, both start-ups and established players, which are also making investments in technology and customer experience."
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Entering the healthcare industry in 2015, Manber has also worked for the National Institutes of Health and the University of California, San Francisco as technical advisor to UCSF's Institute for Computational Health Sciences.
Anthem has been the subject of interest in the healthcare industry this year, following on from its decision to partner with Walmart to reduce healthcare costs and provide consumers with increased access to over-the counter (OTC) medicines and services.
Additionally, the company has sought to further its digital transformation through its partnership with IBM. The decision will enable Anthem to utilise IBM’s enterprise services for its mainframe and data centre server and storage infrastructure management.
Through the deal, the duo is also set to create an artificial intelligence (AI) environment which will allow for an automated infrastructure, providing 24/7 digital capabilities that will provide greater access and value for Anthem's 40mn consumers.
Vaccine rollout spurring dark net activity, McAfee finds
A report by security software company McAfee has found a huge rise in the availability and demand for illegal COVID-19 vaccines.
The research by McAfee Advanced Threat Research found evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are currently available on at least a dozen dark net marketplaces. Vaccines allegedly made by Pfizer-BioNTech are being sold for $600 to $2,500 per dose, with vendors using channels such as Wickr, Telegram, WhatsApp and Gmail to advertise and communicate.
Some of the supposed vaccines are imported from the US, while others are packed in the UK and shipped all over the world, according to the listings.
Moderna vaccines, potentially fraudulent antibody tests and fake vaccine cards are also being increasingly sold on the dark web, on at least 10 different underground markets.
Anne An, senior security researcher at McAfee’s Advanced Programs Group, told us that with the increased global demand for COVID-19 vaccinations, the demand for illegal vaccines, fake test results and vaccination record cards has also grown. "Consumers who are buying these items pose a serious threat to public health and spur the underground economy" she said.
"Opportunistic cybercriminals capitalise on public interest in obtaining a COVID-19 immunity passport. These bad actors can also benefit by reselling the names, dates of birth, home addresses, contact details and other personally indefinable information of their customers."
As well as cyber security measures, An says education is necessary to stem the rise in these illegal sales. "Dark net selling of illegal COVID-19 vaccinations, fake test results and vaccination record cards is both a cybersecurity issue and an educational issue.
"On the one hand, channels being used as a means of business have the responsibility to monitor and mitigate cybercriminal activity on their platforms. On the other, the ongoing efforts of government and medical officials to provide factual information on COVID-19 and vaccinations is critical to discouraging the demand for fraudulent alternatives."
Read McAfee's report Fool’s Gold”: Questionable Vaccines, Bogus Results, and Forged Cards