Google Cloud and Highmark Health Partner to Create Patient Engagement Platform

Highmark Health has signed a six-year deal with Google Cloud under which the two will build and manage a new platform designed to streamline patient care delivery.

The two companies are developing a new digital care model dubbed Living Health. The Living Health Dynamic Platform, which will be built on Google Cloud, allows Highmark to access Google Cloud’s analytics and AI capabilities, along with Google Cloud’s healthcare API.

According to a prepared release, Living Health will not only offer less-fragmented, more personalized care to patients, it will also free up clinicians from performing many time-consuming administrative tasks. The new platform will also offer them timely data and actionable information about each patient, Highmark says.

Clearly, Highmark has decided that where patient care coordination and clinical decision supports are concerned, it’s time to go big. “Instead of asking people to figure out the health system, or multiple systems, we have asked how the entire health experience should be re-engineered with [patients] at the center,” said Karen Hanlon, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Highmark Health.

As is usually the case where this sort of release is concerned, its description of what the new Living Health platform will do is vague and full of empty catchphrases. However, a few examples of what the platform will do include the delivery of individual patient data on a timely-enough basis to allow for quick intervention, digital disease management, support for personalized health plans and centralized scheduling and management of care teams.

What makes it possible for Highmark to set its feet on this road is that it’s both a payer and a care provider. Attempting to redesign healthcare as a payer or as a provider separately could easily lead to a collapse of a project like Living Health.

If there’s any obvious gotcha in this discussion, it’s that rolling out such a platform is likely to be particularly expensive, complicated and resource-intensive in a way that might be challenging to support as long as COVID-19 is still out of control.

However, the goals Highmark has set for this effort, though ambitious, seem achievable and well worth pursuing.  Centralizing care, making the right data available at the right time and getting patients engaged effectively are well worth pursuing.

Still, I’d like to see more detail about what Living Health can actually accomplish. The press releases put out by companies like these are typically vague, as are product descriptions on webpages, so their lack of real expository content about the planned new offering wasn’t a surprise.

Still, I do hope the parties involves offer more detailed information on what they’re trying to accomplish, and soon. I’m impressed by the general outline of what they hope to accomplish it would like to know how they’re going to get there. While any project in which Google is involved has a massive financial and marketing advantage from the get-go. The question is how they’ll execute on this tantalizing vision.


About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.