With Seniors in Mind, Humana to Open Boston-Based Digital Health Center

Insurance powerhouse and rising home health player Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) is planning to open a new center for digital health and analytics in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood.

The health care company plans to complete the 40,000-square-foot center, known as Humana Studio H, in the summer of 2019. Employing a projected 250 people within the next five years, Studio H will focus on pioneering new products and services that will eventually be used company-wide, Louisville, Kentucky-based Humana announced Monday.

The decision to open Studio H is also part of Humana’s overarching plans to provide care for seniors and streamline the overall health care experience for America’s aging population.

“What we’re developing in Boston is a critical capability that can help Humana leap forward and overcome friction points to create a simplified, connected and personalized health care experience for our members and the physicians and others who provide their care,” Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard said in a statement. “We understand that where lifestyle and health care intersect, there is an opportunity to influence health and well-being in a holistic way—especially for seniors.”

Humana has tapped Heather Cox to lead the two-floor digital health center in the newly created position of chief digital health and analytics officer. In her role, Cox will specifically be tasked with building Humana’s digital care delivery operations and leading enterprise analytics.

Cox previously served as chief technology and digital officer at USAA. Additionally, before USAA, she held the CEO spot of Citi FinTech at Citigroup, Inc.

“American health care can be enormously complex, but Humana’s expansion of its digital health and analytics capabilities can provide a game-changing platform to simplify and streamline the health care experience and ultimately improve members’ lifestyles by enhancing the quality of their health care,” Cox said. “Throughout my career, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of marrying technology with human needs, and I’m eager to apply my experience in a dynamic industry like health care.”

Besides working on data and analytics, Studio H will also house a dedicated Humana team focused on creating a new health experience for seniors. The team will be led by Beth Bierbower, who has been with Humana in a number of senior-level leadership positions.

Monday’s announcement from Humana comes less than a week after the insurer announced it had entered into a value-based agreement with University of Chicago Medicine to offer a coordinated, patient-centered experience for Medicare Advantage members.

Health care experts largely believe that data and analytics will drive new payment models, demonstrations and other initiatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) moving forward. That’s particularly true for the Medicare Advantage program, which will allow non-skilled home care as a supplemental benefit for the first time next year.

Humana, which offers home health services through its Humana at Home segment, has been increasingly eyeing home-based care, becoming a major player in home health and hospice in recent months in the process. Humana acquired 40% of Kindred at Home in a $4.1 billion transaction that closed in the beginning of July.

Private equity firms TPG Capital and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe were a part of that deal as well.

Shortly after closing the Kindred at Home deal, Humana and the two PE firms also finalized a $1.4 billion deal for hospice provider Curo Health Services. Both moves have helped Humana achieve historically high share prices.

Written by Robert Holly

Photo Credit:

  • Humana HQ: Tim Mullaney for AMN
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Robert Holly
When Robert's not covering the latest in home health care news, you can likely find him rooting for the White Sox or roaming his neighborhood streets playing Pokemon Go. Before joining HHCN, Robert covered everything from big agribusiness to the hottest tech startups. 

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