The joint venture Sutter Health | Aetna will soon launch a technology-enabled member engagement tool from Boston-based Docent Health, the companies announced last week.
The personalized "concierge" service will allow Sutter Health | Aetna members to find providers, book appointments, and navigate available resources via phone, text, chat, and email. The pilot program builds off a collaboration between Sutter Health and Docent Health in the provider space that began in 2018.
WHY IT MATTERS
Sutter Health | Aetna, a joint provider-payer venture launched last year, has already grown to about 50 plan sponsors across 15 Northern California counties. Docent Health is a venture-backed healthcare company whose platform combines digital and human interactions. The health plan's embrace of Docent's tech-enabled service signals another leap forward.
THE LARGER TREND
With convenience top-of-mind for the majority of consumers, insurers continue to seek new ways to streamline the healthcare experience. With this deal, Sutter Health | Aetna is prioritizing "hospitality" alongside cutting-edge technology in an effort to not only respond to but anticipate member needs.
If the shift toward values-based care requires increased collaboration between payers and providers, as some have said, moves by jointly owned ventures such as this one, are worth paying attention to.
Sutter Health | Aetna has grown its network since launching last year. In April it added Stanford Health Care to its network of providers.
ON THE RECORD
"We're re-imagining the member experience by making healthcare more accessible and convenient through rapid innovation," said Steve Wigginton, Sutter Health | Aetna's CEO. "Docent Health is an organization that understands the importance of hospitality and high-touch experiences and together we're aiming to deliver a truly elevated and differentiated offering."
"Docent Health is excited to begin delivering our innovative technology to Sutter Health | Aetna members," said Paul Roscoe, CEO of Docent Health. "The collaboration between our two teams holds the power to redesign how members engage with their health plan and completely reshape expectations for this industry."
Deirdre Fulton is communications professional and freelancer based in Maine.
On Twitter: @deirdrefulton