Highmark, ChristianaCare launch value-based care, digital health joint venture

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The joint company, which has yet to be named, will take advantage of the strengths of both companies to drive toward more accessible and affordable care. Karen Hanlon, chief operating officer at Highmark Health, said on a call with reporters Wednesday that the venture aims to disrupt the traditional dynamic between payers and providers for greater collaboration.

“For decades, healthcare in the United States has been a tug of war between payers and providers,” Hanlon said. They’re starting the work off in Delaware, where both partners have a strong base, but are intending to scale up the solutions they develop.

Two key “engines” power the venture’s effort to launch new care models, according to the announcement. The partners will create a Solution Design Center that will build solutions that are data- and technology-driven to address outcomes, efficiency and patient experience.

The second component is ChristianaCare’s Center for Virtual Health, which builds, tests and deploys virtual care solutions to primary and specialty care providers.

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Janice Nevin, M.D., CEO of ChristianaCare, said on the call that an example of the venture at work would be in the care of a patient with hypertension, a disease that requires long-term management. With the data and technology tools the joint venture is aiming to make available, the care team can have round-the-clock access to data that can help improve that patient’s health.

With those data, they can then intervene sooner when risks crop up, and the tech platforms enable multiple methods of communication with the patient, including text message or video visits, to triage concerns, Nevin said.

Executives from both organizations said the joint venture is built on the existing, long-term relationship between the two partners in Delaware. It will be governed by a board with representatives from both organizations, and the two partners have entered a 10-year joint venture arrangement.

And while both organizations say they are in this partnership for the long haul, they stressed that the venture does not represent a merger or exclusivity agreement between Highmark and ChristianaCare.

“For decades, we’ve worked within the confines of a healthcare system that simply isn’t working,” Nevin told reporters. “What we’re announcing today represents a seismic shift.”